Back in from the sunshine

I presume and hope no-one’s been hitting the blogs what with all the fabulous weather we’ve been having.

Personally I’ve fallen deeply in love with a new hobby that’s likely in the end to eclipse my interest in shiny circles of black plastic. Specifically, in the last two weeks I’ve discovered GARDENING. It’s the fucking bomb!

I’m trying to grow Rocket from seed — first time I’ve really tried to “grow” anything. I’ve always been more in the mode of a “Fisher King” giver of death=life or a Schumpeterian “gale of creative destruction” — i.e. I cut back and destroy to create space for new life. Now I’ve got a neat windowbox filled with peat and neatly planted seeds. I’m terrified they’ll just rot in the pot. If all goes to plan I should be in homegrown rocket salad til the end of the summer.

Whether any of this suburban paganism will obviate any of my more self-destructive tendencies I don’t know but here’s hoping I won’t spend every night of the spring obsessively making breakbeats…

Anyway. Pictures soon when I can work out how to do it.

Eamon Vs Kanya

Kanye West is OK. I particularly like that record with the bit with all the fast rapping that people were slagging off last week. Though how anyone can see that much difference in “niceness” / objectionability between Kanye and Jurassic Five is beyond me.

However, that Eamon tune! Whaddarecord! Seeing him on ToTP and PopWorld* really did it for me — him and his mate being cheeky over what they used to call a soppy record. Heck, never mind Brooklyn, it coulda been made in Croydon! There’s no higher praise than that! It pisses all over Kanye West! It really reminds me of the late, sadly lost East17. (Has there EVER been a better Christmas record that wasn’t produced by Phil Spector than Stay Another Day? Has there EVER been a better invocation of a teenage Pan than Steam?)

I’ll probably get the Kanye album some time — I mean, how often does Matt rave about record that firecely? Well, a record you can atually go out and buy, anyway… — but the website is blingbling bollocks. Not what I was expecting at all!

I doubt they’ve got it in them to do anything else that’s as good. For the moment, Eamon, rules.

* You can date the arrival of POP as a renewed form to the launch of PopWorld. I think. Either that or Take That’s take on ReLight My Fire. Probably contemporaneous, actually — I wasn’t paying attention.

Cosmic shoes, man

“When the starry dynamo was working at full-tilt and I was being crowded in on by sublime coincidence this suddenly felt of intimate import. I had been hanging out with professed Space-Time Magician Ken Downie of The Black Dog, some of whose insights finally pulled the carpet out from under my feet and sent me spiralling loose into a void of zero reference. One of the first things I did when struggling to grip onto reality was ditch the Nike Air’s. “

Fascinating dropping-of-the-veil here from our Matt. He’s right: shoes are more important than they look and not just for camp reasons. They’re our primary means of connecting with the earth, physically — which means they’re our primary means of connecting with the earth, spiritually as well. There is an interesting contrast here between Matt’s historic rejection of the Nike Air, with its solipsistic swoosh, and his recent adoption of the Converse All-Stars, with their pop-culture pentagram — itself a universal symbol of earthed transcendence, everywhere from Angkor Wat and Cancun to, well, North London.

The influence of epic strange-attractor Ken Downie shouldn’t be underestimated. Indeed, their burgeoning relationship was no doubt partly inspired by Matt’s progress to an eschatonic point of no-return — the identification of which I will leave obscure out of respect for Matt. But as an aside, let’s big up Matt for his mention on the Black Dog’s website as both a friend and resident Film Director. Wicked!

Also on this note, I’m pleased to say that the Dust Science record label website is now up. And it includes, I am pleased to say, the biographical entry for the Black Dog — we’re planning to release new material from him. I was going to call up Matt for general advice and background information about the Black Dog but found that the bio seemed to write itself in the most peculiar way — it was only afterwards that I realised that Matt was part of the Black Dog massive! I look forward to the release with some excitement.

Rockports are superb shoes BTW. Supremely comfortable and work with almost any trousers, but particularly suits. I’ve worn one pair of shoes and one pair of boots out on projects — I’m now halfway through my third pair!

More on Stonehenge

Just got some more info on the Stonehenge discussion from the ever-wonderful (not to mention omnipresent) Steve Wilson .

“Climate change and population shifts, occasionally coupled with ecological downgrading of fields, is the flavour of the month with archaeologists at the moment, from Stonehenge to the Mayan cities to Cambodia. They might be right, or another fashionable explain-everything theory may come along. Who knows, it might all be down to “conquest by technologically superior invaders” again soon (as it was in the 1950s).”

On a potential purpose behind the authorities’ treatment of Stonehenge:

“Nice conspiracy theory, and I agree – except the real reason was that the Free Festival had been running for 11 years, and one more year would have made it an ancient festival according to established British property laws that date back to the year dot and are the only reasons that most of the aristocracy “own” their country piles. The ban was on the Festival – which was across the road from the stones, not in them.”

On the reversal of official policy w.r.t. the Stonehenge festival:

“Because Arthur took the government to court in Europe and won, hence the return in 2000, he and I refused to enter during the “Managed access” of 1998 and 1999< ...>s biography of Arthur!”

On the damage done to Stonehenge by the A303:
“Actually the A road didn’t do too much damage, most had already been looted by archaeologists or ploughed under for fields, or indeed used for target practice by the Army. I feel the difference is that Stonehenge is isolated whereas Avebury is in the middle of a community.”

Someone probably had a hell of a party…

The 8th was the 100th Anniversary of what for quite a few people (not including me) was the start of a new aeon. For on that day a century ago did Ankh-af-na-Khonsu receive the first chapter of something called The Book of The Law, in Cairo. It was at approximately 9 AM London time apparently. Ankh-af-na-Khonsu was Aleister Crowley, BTW. In common with Julian Cope, I always saw Sly Stone as a key mythological representative of this current, albeit crossed with that of the BLACK ATLANTIC proposed by Kodwo Eshun. Certainly, I’ve always thought Crowley’s epigram Every man and woman is a star was effectively translated by Sly as Everybody is a star:

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain’t no stopping ’til it’s in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round.

Is Stonehenge dead?

There’s been some discussion recently about whether Stonehenge is dead, not to mention abandoned, and whether it’s worth visiting.

IIRC most scholars currently believe Stonehenge was abandoned as a result of climate change altering population distributions. This might imply that whatever was powerful there once might still be so. I’d be interested in being put right on this point if anyone is more engaged with the archaeology literature than I am.

I am not so sure that there isn’t some purpose behind the authorities’ treatment of Stonehenge. Certainly it’s a political flash-point and a place where different visions of what British life could be come into conflict. It’s undeniable that the British state deployed a great deal of power there in the 80s — a policy that has been dramatically and over-archingly reversed. John Michell’s pamphlet on Stonehenge makes a good backgrounder on the political and spiritual issues at work. I’d also recommend the chapter on Stonehenge in CJ Stone’s Fierce Dancing.

I’ve heard a lot of pagans over the years say Stonehenge is dead. However, it didn’t feel that way to me in 1988 when I along with thousands of others had to run 12 miles from the stones pursued by police horses and helicopters after the solstitial sunrise. It felt pretty lively at the time.

Nevertheless I’d have to agree that the Avebury complex feels more engaging and is arguably more important. I don’t agree that the impact of roads on Avebury and Stonehenge are equivalent. Avebury’s do bisect the circle complex(es) it’s true, but they are mediaeval or older — a bit different from an A-road destroying vast swathes of ritual landscape.