The weather underground

Bruce LaBruce’s The Misandrists, Radiohead, Larry David, Daniel O’Sullivan, OK LÀ.

From The Misandrists

The Misandrists (2018), dir. Bruce LaBruce (Cartilage Films)

Girls are coming out of the woods,

wrapped in cloaks and hoods,

carrying iron bars and candles

and a multitude of scars, collected

on acres of premature grass and city

buses, in temples and bars. Girls

are coming out of the woods

with panties tied around their lips,

making such a noise, it’s impossible

to hear. Is the world speaking too?

Excerpt, Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods – Tishani Doshi

OK LÀ – Parking by Human Playground / Ana Tapia Rousiouk / Byron Westbrook / Bruce McLure / Kara-Lis Coverdale – July 14, 2018 – Stationnement Éthel, Verdun

Visionary thinkers like Chris Petit, Marc Augé and JG Ballard all meditated notably on non-places — airport waiting lounges, yawning strip malls, corporate business parks, empty parking garages — as the only authentic landscapes proper to the 21st century. “Our towns,” wrote Augé, “have been turning into museums (restored, exposed and floodlit monuments, listed areas, pedestrian precincts) while at the same time bypasses, motorways, high-speed trains and one-way systems have made it unnecessary for us to linger in them.” These radically banal spaces act as contemporary temples of alienation and loneliness, soundtracked by the constant drone of motors and air-conditioners, mapped and catalogued by indifferent Google street-view panoptics — mediocre civilization’s mechanics and technics. Ours is a boring dystopia characterized most appropriately by the intermittent colonization of supermodernity’s mass-vacancies.

Daniel O’Sullivan, “Return the Heart,” The Physic Garden (EMI Production Music)

The average rainfall for the month of July in Montreal is 70mm. By the end of July 2018, we’d received only 13.5mm of precipitation, most of it concentrated in short bursts that aren’t enough to keep much of the grass alive in the city’s parks. Also this Month, Montreal recorded the highest temperature on record — not just beating a daily record, but setting a new all-time high for the city: 36.6°C. Most of the flowers I planted in my own garden have died, scorched by successive heat waves, and insufficiently nourished by my attempts at watering. The raspberry bush produced only one plump berry, which a neighbourhood squirrel promptly ate. The biggest crime perpetrated on the public was advancing the notion that talking about the weather is boring. We’re going to be talking about it a lot more often.

Larry David, “The Most Important Meal of the Day,” New York Times, July 23, 2018

A Republican state representative in Georgia, Jason Spencer, resigned on July 25 after he was featured mocking Asian tourists, yelling racial epithets and baring his buttocks on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series Who Is America? And nobody reveals the inner workings of petty stupidity like Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David, whose Woody Allen-esque op-ed in the New York Times last month provided some much-needed comic relief. It is encouraging to see satire have an impact in the real world at a time when the American administration seems all but impervious to ridicule. Keep exposing these dangerous fools for what they are.

Radiohead, Bell Centre, July 17, 2018

In February, I bought a piano in an attempt to recapture the musical practice that I abandoned during my youth. It might have been a mid-life crisis thing. Some people buy fast cars. Others try extreme sports. I bought a Steinway. When it arrived, I immediately attempted to remember every song I’d learnt as a kid: I could still hammer out reasonable renditions of “Watermark” by Enya, Pink Floyd’s “Nobody Home,” a few elementary Schumann etudes. But what I really wanted to learn was “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead. There is something so melancholically beautiful about Thom Yorke’s piano part, and it always sounded easy enough to pick up by ear. I sat down at the keyboard and within minutes figured out the first few chords, pleased with myself until I realized that I had no clue as to the song’s time signature.

I turned to the internet for answers, imagining that a quick query would lead to some forum that would explain in straightforward terms how to play the tune. I was wrong. Oh, I found the forums alright. But there was much feverish debate about the song’s genuine timing and structure. Some people believed that it was written in 4/4 time; some thought it was something more complex — like 3+3+2. (No 2+2=5, however.) I patiently watched a string of videos purporting to unlock the “Pyramid Song” puzzle. None of them seemed quite right, though. So I went back to the recording. When the drums kick in, it’s clear to me that it is in fact in 16/8 time. But I have no idea how Yorke can nonchalantly execute such a non-standard, syncopated rhythm without the aid of those drums. Of course, the band played it flawlessly at the Bell Centre in their second of two Montreal performances, leaving the capacity crowd — myself included — in teary-eyed wonder. Practice makes perfect, and I need plenty more of it.