Saturday, February 09, 2008

Table-talk of Parkus Grammaticus for February 10-13

I. The Electronic Poetry Review has put out its eighth and final issue—where you can read Dizzyhead Joshua Clover's "Century," which he has dedicated to us, and which we have just deemed the best poem of 2008 on the basis of this powerful penultimate line:

"I loved the palindrome and the ourobouros and the subway system turning back on itself."

II. Any Amharic speakers out there? Yet another Awesome Tape from Africa...

III. PTSNBN alumni notes: The Dust Dive (featuring ex-PTSNBNers Ken and Bryan) get interviewed; meanwhile, at the place itself, you can get monitored remotely!

IV. Great story in the NYT's Automobiles section: "New York to Paris the Hard Way, 100 Years Ago," by Jerry Garrett:

On July 30, the battered Thomas Flyer bearing Schuster; another mechanic, George Miller; and MacAdam, the Times reporter, reached Paris — and a gendarme would not let them proceed without a working headlight. A passer-by volunteered his bicycle’s light for the duty; the bike was lifted into the car, which arrived at the finish at 6 p.m.

V. I also liked the final installment of D. Clowes's "Mr. Wonderful" and Virginia Heffernan's piece on drunk-people videos:

The crowning achievement of YouTube, which showed nine billion videos in a single month last year, may be that it has flouted what was once considered the immutable law of the Internet: All images online eventually turn to pornography. In a minor miracle, YouTube rendered this law obsolete. Thanks to ingenious programming and community-building, the video-sharing site now shows every imaginable kind of video except pornography.

VI. Cf. end of Rebecca Mead's piece on Nico Muhly:

Lassen...and Muhly huddled in a corner laying plans for their new piece, which was to consist of music composed to accompany a series of YouTube videos that had been chosen expressly for their mundanity.

“There’s a way to search for interesting things on YouTube, and then there’s a way to search for uninteresting things,” Muhly said. “You put in search terms like ‘My daughter’s yard,’ ‘My friend’s restaurant.’ ” The music was to be modelled on cantatas by Bach and anthems by Purcell, he explained. It was going to be great.

VII. Outsider music? Interesting article on Gordon Thomas in New York magazine...which led me to his website...

Some GT fans have recently contacted us asking about the chronology of the recordings available on this site. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as easy as one might think. Some of the albums were recorded over a period of several years; Gordon has been somewhat haphazard about dating his releases; several different records are titled “Gordon” or “Gordon Thomas,” and although he has a near-photographic memory for anecdotes, philosophical tidbits and the like, he has a wide margin of error when trying to remember when things happened. (When we mentioned to him recently that fans wanted to know the original release dates of his albums, he helpfully suggested: “Well, I could always make something up!”)

VIII. Ed Keeps Reading the Paper

Saki Knafo: "Mr. Fischer had ordered a tongue sandwich and milk..."

A piece on rival Pakistani papers in Queens:

“My only skill is journalism,” he said a few days after Ms. Bhutto’s death, taking a break from drafting an editorial. “I can’t do anything else, can’t fix a car. My children always say, ‘Turn off the phone.’ But you know, it’s an addiction. To educate people on what is going on, this is my love, this is my passion, this is my romance, this is what I believe my body desires. It’s my peanut and butter.”

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