Friday, May 29, 2009

How I Put My Knowledge of Discordian Trivia to No Good Use...And Became a High Priest!

NOTE: I took an online quiz about Discordianism. The result below is embedded text from a site linked from here, which is in turn linked from the site of the late Robert Anton Wilson (pictured to the left). (Amazing what one reading of Illuminatus! and the Cosmic Trigger years ago can do!) Since everyone who wants to be a pope can be one in the Discordian religion, I wonder if "High Priest/ess" ranks higher than that.

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Your result for The Discordian Test...

High Priest/ess

You scored 88.

You have passed three degrees of 23, the magick number 69, Discordian. As Pope I initiate you into the Fourth Degree of the PARATHEO-ANAMETAMYSTIKHOOD OF ERIS ESOTERIC, or POEE. Henceforth, you shall be addressed as a High Priest/ess, until such time as you get your Shit Together and graduate to the Next Degree.

Take The Discordian Test

Monday, May 18, 2009

Clockwork Orange People

Yesterday, I overheard a snippet of conversation from a small group of about four young, white, ostensibly middle class males standing on the street together. They were late teens or early-twentysomethings with short hair and scruffy faces, a couple of whom had skateboards.

One of them said, "There are two kinds of people in the world, Scarface people and Clockwork Orange people. I am a Clockwork Orange person."

Ladies and gentlemen, the ultraviolence is now so integrated into popular culture that young men delineate the world between narco-gangster violence and nihilo-dandy gangster violence. But it's all gangster, all the time. This is the Grand Theft Auto generation talking. What could this guy have possibly meant? I do see a strange connection between the two films (not assuming he was referring to Anthony Burgess's novel). Both describe post-Communist renegades of capitalist society: one a refugee from Castro's totalitarian "Caribbean people's paradise," and the other a Russian-damaged thug for Beethoven (an icon of the West). I wish now I had asked the guy if he'd ever listened to The Adicts or Mad Parade, since they were obviously Clockwork Orange people, too. I think he might have appreciated it. Or he might have shot me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Can't Decide"

Many, many weeks ago, an overwhelming landslide of three votes came in to answer the survey question: Which is the best Greg Ginn guitar solo? I picked my three favorites, excluding anything from the Black Flag instrumental records. Of "Rise Above," "Jealous Again," and "Can't Decide," it is the third in that list that won the most votes (two!). The only other vote was for None of the Above.

Briefly, "Can't Decide" is such a great song, my favorite from either Side A or Side B of the My War album. The song structure is a twist on the verse-chorus format of the traditional rock-pop song, with a blisteringly atonal solo following each chorus. It's a "hit song" from the alternate universe of truly listenable, muscular rock.

As atonal as Ginn's fretwork is, however, I could hum along with his solos. They are compact and fit in the right places but then go way out into the stratosphere at the right moments, too, especially when juxtaposed to the tightly wound chords of most of Black Flag's songs. I think this reveals an underlying harmolodic quality to his playing. It's always been there. I've always noticed it. But it wasn't until listening to Ornette Coleman years after I'd been headbanging to Black Flag that I learned the terms to describe just what was so bold and advanced about Ginn's guitar-playing compared to most other punk rock players.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Richard Pinhas at Highways (2007)

While thinking about Heldon, I remembered this show by Richard Pinhas in my hometown almost two years ago. Thanks to JB for buying me a ticket, I was able to see it. Some blessed music fanatic posted this youtube video a couple days later. Weird, because I could have sworn this show was last year. Time is just stretching into increasingly strange shapes as I get older. Anyway, sit back and--if you have thirty minutes or so set aside for spacing out--enjoy this clip. The hand-held camera does get less shaky after the introduction.