Thursday 23 November 2023

Thursday 9 November 2023

Novem be nine

No ember benign,
November bemoan:
the West that is known
Gabriel-Max-Str. - 1989 (hover/click: 2023)

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Uh, nuh!

There was rain.
A steady drip down Leipziger to P'damer Str: a stretch done dirty down to a degradation of an already desperately needed haven from the bog potential ((that) I can say I'm glad is no longer my weekly cycle). I even did what I normally wouldn't, which is ride on the covered walk of the shopping strip and subsequent hotel, which kept me out of the drizzle a while.

I'd read in the paper long enough ago that this segment was to be a cyclist's dream. As it is, the previous marks, heat-sealed into the pavement, have another stripe across them, which doesn't mean "no bikes allowed" so much as "ride at your own risk".
P'damer Plz is the least laudable yet most appropriate symbol of die Wende, being, as it is, literally, a transition from the dick-swinging sectors parcelled out to would-be protectors of freedom, with their freshly defeated fascists in the fold, armed muzzle-to-muzzle opposite would-be arbiters of collective emancipation from the same. Authorities reign over all parades. As it connects to those armed to protect and those armed to resist and those armed to overcome and those armed to come over, only they justify themselves, nourishing each other and no one else, which seems fitting to the news of the day.
Anyway, as a metaphor for ever-swelling pots of piss, P'damer takes the cup. And there was rain.
Tho' none on this parade: Gock's (generous gift) giving a ship in the midst of the mist: two ticks to Eno at the house of the philharmonic, worthy of its color & in contrast to too much surrounding it (and built at the same time as the Wall).
Gock couldn't make the trip and I couldn't blame him. On behalf of his forgone half came K8 none too late. To her level of concern that her unfamiliarity 'd amount to an unworthiness of attendance, my assurance was it's nearly exclusively the stuff from the century past I'd made intimate acquaintance with: We were in the same boat if not the same harbor.

After Viet rice and noodles and a vape too deep (ye don't get off, unless ye cough), we ventured over and into the venue, about which I can say the following: outer doors at 8 and inner admittance at 8:30 is not entirely unlike the feeling of being schlepped from lock to lock at the airport (tracking moments too minutely (in this case, w/ thc (s)talking); maybe Ambien I woulda worked).

Once relaxed into the space, I observed what could be called Music for Concert Halls, as the pre-performance music accommodated this: a ship's bottle being slowly but surely filled with conversing characters who, each in their own fashion fit the part cast by their composer (who for his part rewarded recognition of all of this without demanding it;-). While the piece (or pieces) were full of familiar vocabulary, collectively none of it was identifiable as a previously known title. I think the point I want to make is they were not, as I would otherwise worry, substandard versions of what preceded them, but rather exemplary of an oeuvre and the essentials of one guy's self-defined genre. Derived without being derivative in the pejorative sense. And for all I know it was created for this purpose.
Houselights down, the woodwinds and strings entered first, literally, as they sort of wandered on while establishing the waves upon which the Ship would be set. And so it began, auspiciously (with the title track of the concert's namesake, followed by its three roman numbered companions): during this section, apprehension abated, disquiet dissolved, and this combo's potential shined, culminating in its swoon (or maybe the bombast).
It's a challenge of wordsmithing to convey how the players reproduced the aforementioned genre: they gave a shape to a one-time fantasy of mine that an orchestra could just warm up for several hours: the gradual formation of harmonic narrative left that idea in its wake, but with the wake remaining contiguous to the periphery of the performance of the wake itself, it never strayed entirely out of the scope of the audient.
The point I failed to make in the previous paragraph is that the character of the sound was true to that which was to be recreated, down to its subtlest. That is, it came off as original, orchestrated but un-orchestral.
(I am reminded here of the service done by the Metropole Orkest to Fripp's The Wine of Silence, but with a greater degree of difficulty in consideration of the variance of texture involved.)
I have to mention one of the best aspects being the fade to silences being uninterrupted by the slightest peep from the house. Then, an eruption of enthusiasm. Each time except one, where, appropriately, the transition between pieces flowed unbroken except by the silence.
Of course the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has a conductor. One can be forgiven for feeling too much shine from such a presence. What is a maestro but a knob, after all. Yet despite my traditional dilettante's doubting their necessity, I cannot believe (in this instance) that the swelling & shrinking and fading in & out of each other could have been accomplished as effectively devoid of direction from somewhere. The best bands break up without it keeping the egos in check; individual instrumentalists move on to escape the hubris of the same (I think I glimpsed a smirk or three among the blowers and strokers, but there were smiles, too). All in all, I found it easy enough to focus my attention away from the demonstrative dirigent dirigenting (which K8n't be said of everyone;-)
The Ship was followed by something the players created that sounded familiar. Was it from On Land, or was it another exemplary combination of chirping & croaking to remind us of it? (Later in response to one of Mr Conductor Man's between-song chatterings, this time about the coming piece's featuring birdsong, Eno humorously self-deprecated that everything he's ever done does.)
Anyway, the previous fed into "By this River", with the harpist introducing Roedelius' part, and, as far as I could tell, a keyboard taking Moebius', and mallets filling out the former (percussion was in partial view at the back). This would be the sole representation of the twentieth century. Dating back to 1977, it puts twenty-eight years between itself and the nearest chronologically sourced part of the rest of the set, which ranged between 2005 to today.
If you're a fan of the vocal melodies from ForeverAndEverNoMore, you won't find your way off of your cloud for a bit. The artist's voice was as could have been desired (tho' he remarked of a cold, which was only recognizable when he spoke or sang too softly to be heard anyway). His rendition of "I'm Set Free" really shone its own, and  along with "By this River" brought the other soloists out, and clustered waves of chamber-like activity in (like Music for Bridges), which made the returns really pay off.
Few as his live performances have been, this will serve as a landmark to its having been ventured and a testament to a career headed this way, as if it had embarked to get here.
Like, for me, the thing I said before about exemplary vocabulary as part of his genre, last night's experience has reestablished in my mind that this territory does in fact belong to him. That is, he didn't just take from others who've influenced a certain approach, and he didn't just result in those who continue to ape his influence, for good or ill, but he's established a lexicon with his name on it. It's easy to lose sight of that, and the stage was a perfect reminder.
Had the acoustics of this house been present at the Hammersmith, or had I been sitting in the best seat in the house, as here, I'd still be throwing away my pants.

Thanks to Gock for a birthday well spent.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Present Progressive

Everlasting as is the invaluable need's sacrifice at the shrine of instant indulgence,
increasingly, immediacy, too's, forsaken for its own sake.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Why the Whysplanation Bothers Me

The reason why is because. And how.
In my opinion, a why-statement should be used to state Why it is that something has come to be. In other words, it should aim to name the cause of an effect.
While, indeed, it can be nearly identical to a how-statement, as in both how and why I came to like pizza, it gets ambiguous with increasing frequency whenever someone sets out to explain to you why-something. If, for example, The Beacon beckons you with Why the Economy is Good Right Now, it's probably trying to convince the reader who might not think the economy is good by presenting current qualities and arguing they make this so, usurping the how and relegating the why to something more akin to campaign advertising.
As alluded to by my example, the preponderance of offense occurs in news item headlines. Annoyance at these demonstrates how I or anyone with housepet peeves is a pragmatist of selective convenience. Notice I said how and not why. I'm more inclined to say pet peeves demonstrate selective intolerance but wanted to point out here that the offense can occur as well in everyday speech, as I would've done had I written "demonstrates why I'm a pragmatist of selective convenience", to which my snide reply would be "Because I'm an asshole".
The following is an example of a micro infraction I read this morning: Why this summer that's actually not one comes at just the right time.
[Here's another pet peeve: you'll have to trust my translation. Our deep translator does not yet offer a proper rendering of the defining relative clause as I have written it and instead offers exclusively versions of a non-defining Why this summer, which is actually not one, comes at just the right time. German grammar makes no distinction without the comma, but I, being a part-time pragmatist, understand that it's the not-being an actual summer aspect that's had a timely arrival, not the summer itself, the latter of which is what the non-defining rendering with the commas would indicate. I'm fully aware the context would provide the clarity to the intended reader, i.e. I know the last several weeks have been cool and rainy and that the inference of "this summer's arrival" alone could preclude anything other than this. But other people read, too. Not everyone's privy to the defining quality of this timely arrival.]
A logical explanation of the why in the above headline should involve an examination that explores the mechanisms that determine the weather in this region of the world and an observation of present conditions that would answer the question Why is the weather like this now? What makes the infraction less flagrant is the strong contextual association of "comes at just the right time" with "is what is needed or desired". The answer is so broadly self-explanatory there need not be a question; we need rain more than fire right now. But I cannot help myself; the why bothers me because I know it lacks an explanation as to why this thing we need now but does not typically occur at this time of year has so mercifully and seemingly coincidently arrived now, of all times.
I've identified a couple levels of irritation that could be split into categories based on the amount the glare each grates: 1) the whys that are all how and 2) the whys that cover both how and why to more and less proportional degrees.
Here's a fun one: Call up an array of news sites and do a page search for why to see if you can guess which category the headline corresponds to. I have to admit that, to its credit, the NYT homepage had at the time of conception no examples of either, only four real whys. [Checking again just now, they have a whopper with cheese.]
I'd like to think there's a real linguist or grammarian or lexicographer somewhere researching the origins of this and cataloguing usage. Advice to myself regarding pet peeves: Go with the flow. Mind the gap.