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Patti Smith: Advice to the young from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo.

Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.
commonpeople1: (Avatar)

Arnold Newman/Getty Images
Paris Review
What are some of your writing habits? Do you use a desk? Do you write on a machine?

Truman Capote
I am a completely horizontal author. I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don't use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand. Essentially I think of myself as a stylist, and stylists can become notoriously obsessed with the placing of a comma, the weight of a semicolon. Obsessions of this sort, and the time I take over them, irritate me beyond endurance.

The Art of Fiction No.17: Truman Capote


Nov. 16th, 2011 05:25 pm
commonpeople1: (Default)
goddess athena. by shaman.
goddess athena., a photo by shaman. on Flickr.
I'm reading at the moment a really great book on the unconscious and the mythological, by Michael Vannoy Adams, called - of course - The Mythological Unconscious. A passage caught my attention:

Pallas Athene was the Greek goddess of war. At her birth, she sprang from Zeus's head, with, as Kerényi says, "a far-echoing battle-cry," in "armour of gleaming gold," and "brandishing her sharp javelin." According to Kerényi, Pallas Athene was "a warlike virgin." He notes that the epithet "Pallas" means "a strong virgin, a virago, as she would be called in Latin."
I immediately thought of the video I posted yesterday, the trailer for RuPaul's upcoming Drag Race (season 4):

There she is, walking towards us in her golden armour, like Athena. Wikipedia describes Athena as "the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill... [she] is also a shrewd companion of heroes and is the goddess of heroic endeavour."

So the "girls" she creates are the heroines that will fight during the Drag Race until one is crowned the victor. In previous shows, RuPaul has sat at a judging table (Mount Olympos?) and dispensed her wisdom to contestant, her praise, her encouragement, while they compete against each other. There are always guest judges that help her decision (fellow Gods) and she always visits the room where contestants work on their outfits to see how they are doing (which involves RuPaul climbing down some stairs into the room).

Later in the book Zeus is discussed and how he is related to thunder/electricity. Now, thinking again of Athena/RuPaul as the daughter of Zeus (the other side of Zeus?), check out the video again around 0:50 seconds, when Zeus' power fills the room and rushes through Athena/RuPaul's hands.

And aren't drag queens "virginal" in one sense, just like Athena? Their ubersexuality and sexual language only reinforcing how they are neither men nor women, but a construction (the "droids") - virginal until either a man or a woman chooses to remove their outer drag shell (shells, of course, being related to Aphrodite, goddess of love). Athena and Zeus are myths - images - and so are drag queens, who play up to their own favourite myth-like stars when they create their looks.

The book also mentions the "Black Athena" theory, which I had never heard of before - and which RuPaul embodies in the video: a theory that Ancient Greece is more indebted to Africa and Asia than is commonly known or promoted.

Again from Wikipedia: "The Greek philosopher, Plato (429–347 BC), identified [Athena] with the Libyan deity Neith, the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient Pre-Dynastic period, who was also identified with weaving. This is sensible, as some Greeks identified Athena's birthplace, in certain mythological renditions, as being beside Libya's Triton River."

I'm not sure if RuPaul or her producers were aware of the connection when they made the video. Perhaps they weren't, otherwise they would make it more explicitly "classical Greece"? Either way, in my opinion those myths are channeled by RuPaul in the video and neatly embody what she wishes to portray in herself and for the show.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Morrissey by gemma zoey
Morrissey, a photo by gemma zoey on Flickr.
Even when one is no longer attached to things, it's still something to have been attached to them; because it was always for reasons which other people didn't grasp... Well, now that I'm a little too weary to live with other people, these old feelings, so personal and individual, that I had in the past, seem to me - it's the mania of all collectors - very precious. I open my heart to myself like a sort of vitrine, and examine one by one all those love affairs of which the world can know nothing. And of this collection to which I'm now much more attached than to my others, I say to myself, rather as Mazarin said of his books, but in fact without the least distress, that it will be very tiresome to have to leave it all.

Charles Swann

Marcel Proust, Cities of the Plain


Nov. 7th, 2011 12:37 pm
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Untitled by lilyrhoads
Untitled, a photo by lilyrhoads on Flickr.
There are certain technical words in the vocabulary of every academic discipline which tend to become stereotypes and cliches. Psychologists have a word which is probably used more frequently than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry of the new child psychology.

Now in a sense all of us must live the well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophemic personalities. But there are some things in our social system to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I suggest that you too ought to be maladjusted.

I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob-rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic inequalities of an economic system which take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating method of physical violence.

I call upon you to be maladjusted. The challenge to you is to be maladjusted—as maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day, could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, “Let judgment run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream;” as maladjusted as Lincoln, who had the vision to see that this nation could not survive half slave and half free; as maladjusted as Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery could cry out, in words lifted to cosmic proportions, “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the persuit of Happiness.” As maladjusted as Jesus who dared to dream a dream of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men. The world is in desperate need of such maladjustment.

Martin Luther King, April 25, 1957
commonpeople1: (Default)
i said i love the smiths by 266aline
i said i love the smiths, a photo by 266aline on Flickr.
Morrissey is for life, not just for Christmas. I liken being a Moz fan to finding yourself in an intense relationship with someone you totally fancy and adore, but who is just a teeny bit embarrassing when you take them down the pub to meet your mates. You don't stop loving them, but every time you go out together you say a silent prayer hoping they won't do or say anything too weird.

Amy Lamé: Morrissey - Our Collective Moral Barometer

New Atwood

Oct. 6th, 2011 01:55 am
commonpeople1: (Default)
Reasons to be happy: Margaret Atwood has a new book out and it's a collection of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination

Reasons to be sad: this last bit from an interview with Jascha Hoffman:

I’m past the age when things scare me. But if I were younger, I would be looking down the line with some apprehension. A world with more than 9 billion people is not going to be very habitable. We’ve already used 90% of the fish in the sea. Global warming will make it worse: more droughts, more extreme weather and limited harvests. People think they will fix the problem with technology, but famine may fix it for us. Either way it will be a pretty miserable life. The infinite inventiveness of humans sometimes makes me feel hopeful, but we’re just as capable of inventing horrible things as good things.

Wise Man

May. 15th, 2011 11:26 am
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John Waters

Poppers are the only drug I still take. I used to take them on rollercoasters which was insane. I tried heroin, but itching and puking isn't my idea of fun.

This Much I Know: John Waters

I said this on Facebook and I'll say it again: John Waters should MUST host the next Oscars!
commonpeople1: (Default)
"On Facebook and Twitter, you are performing to attract people – you are dancing emotionally, on a platform created by a large corporation. People's feelings bounce back and forth – happy Stakhanovites, ignoring and denying the system of power. It's like Stalin's socialist realism. Both Twitter and socialist realism are innocent expressions of the ideology of the time, which don't pull back and show the wider thing they are part of. We look back on socialist realism not as innocent but as a dramatic expression of power; it expresses the superiority of the state, which was the guiding belief at the time. I think sometime in the future people will look back at the millions and millions of descriptions of personal feelings on the internet and see them in similar ways. This is the driving belief of our time: that 'me' and what I feel minute by minute is the natural centre of the world. Far from revealing that this is an ideology – and that there are other ways of looking at human society – what Twitter and Facebook do is reinforce the feeling that this is the natural way to be."
Adam Curtis, Have computers taken away our power?
commonpeople1: (Car)

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface

'Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They're calling at me, come and find your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the World's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl

Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights 

- Arcade Fire: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)


Jan. 12th, 2011 05:25 pm
commonpeople1: (Morrissey)

Originally uploaded by -hndrk-
The world always looks straight ahead; as for me, I turn my gaze inward, I fix it there and keep it busy. Everyone looks in front of him: as for me, I look inside me: I have no business but with myself; I continually observe myself, I take stock of myself, I taste myself. Others…they always go forward; as for me, I roll about in myself.

- Montaigne

commonpeople1: (Car)
I walked home today because of the Tube strikes. In an hour I was at Bethnal Green. Half an hour later I was inside my lift - just half an hour more than my usual bus ride. I just might walk home from now on. London is lovely this time of the year - that mixture of autumn colours from the setting sun but still some enduring summer warmth.

People, though, behaved appallingly today. Drivers nearly knocked over cyclists. Cyclists couldn't give a fuck about pedestrians. Pedestrians screamed at cyclists and jumped in front of moving traffic when it wasn't their turn. Everyone was frenetic to get home. I didn't see the rush. I stopped once to switch from office shoes to trainers then another for some milk and tuc tuc crackers. I got a missed phone call and when I arrived home [ profile] wink_martindale told me someone related to a job application I'd made recently had rung for me. She sounded nice on the phone, he said, and she would e-mail me.

I took a bath and listened to Hurts' album "Happiness".

Wednesday 28 December 1966
Leonie rang at about six. I'd sent a telegram earlier today. She'd just got in from work. She said that Dad has gone back home. Sleeps in my mother's bed downstairs with the corpse. After his accident he can't piss straight and floods the lavatory with it whenever he goes. She said, 'Well, I'm shocked by our Marilyn, you know.' I said, 'Why, what's she done?' Leonie said, 'Oh, you know, she behaves very ignorantly all round. And when I told her Mum was dead all she said was - "I'm not surprised". Well, you know, what kind of remark is that?' Dougie was upset. Remarkable how those without hearts when young suddenly develop them in later life.

I promised to go home tomorrow. Leonie and George will come round in the evening. As the corpse is downstairs in the main living-room it means going out or watching television with death at one's elbow. My father, fumbling out of bed in the middle of the night, bumped into the coffin and almost had the corpse on the floor.

Peggy said how dreadfully reminiscent of Loot it all was.

From The Orton Diaries, edited by John Lahr

commonpeople1: (Sea)

Talents are best nurtured in solitude: character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.--Goethe

To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations--such is a pleasure beyond compare.--Kenko Yoshida

Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.--James Russell Lowell

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.--Albert Einstein

More solitude

Candy Says

Mar. 19th, 2010 08:40 am
commonpeople1: (Clarice)

Candy and Jeremiah

I love London's Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. In fact, are cities truly places if they don't have a yearly LGBT film festival? All I know is that spring's approach is all the more sweeter when you have queer films to see in one of the best venues in London, then the walk home afterwards alongside the Thames. I've mentioned before how great it is to be under the same cinematic roof with other queers - made me think last night that part of the reason extremist don't like us is because we are a family far more interesting and varied than them. Typically, I got tons of tickets for the festival this year, especially because they have a buy-four-ticktes-get-fifth free deal. Last night was our first one: Beautiful Darling, The Life and Times of Candy Darling. Her best friend Jeremiah was there to introduce it and then speak a little about her after the film, as well as the director, who was also someone who knew her in childhood.

Beautiful Darling is one of those straight forward documentaries, in terms of technique, where archive material is edited alongside interviews with people who were there or who were influenced by Candy. It's not meant to be groundbreaking but, strangely enough, it is a reminder of how ahead of her time she was. You can see echoes of her style in many people today (e.g. Courtney Love), her name dropped in songs by Lou Reed (now ironically played in Wal-Mart, as Jeremiah said) and the path she cleared for people in the gay community like Rupaul. In photographs she was beautiful and iconic like the Hollywood stars she aspired to be, but in footage she was a lost child that created her own reality to escape a hard life. Some of my favourite passages in the documentary were Chloë Sevigny's reading of her diaries and the photos of her childhood.

I've been thinking lately about America's decadence, especially after seeing a documentary on the BBC about the rise and fall of Detroit (Requiem for Detroit). Not that Candy Darling was decadent - far from it, she was a survivor of the decadence around her - but she came along during a time when New York was an oddball cesspit that didn't fit into America's cookie cutter Midwest mold. Before yuppies, Regan and Giuliani. But New York was never America's soul, and will never be - it's just a gateway. I'm starting to think that Detroit is America's soul - home of the cars that cut through that Heartland, home of Motown. And now it has a population of 800,000 where 2 million can fit - a dying, ghost metropolis that mirrors America's decline this century. Requiem for Detroit made me feel hopeful for America because there are people there reclaiming the city again through urban environmentalism, farming and even art. Is the next Candy Darling going to emerge from there? Or is she hiding in Iran, where to be gay means to be dead? Recording herself and then burying the tapes under the floorboard in fear of the religious police. Time capsules for when Iran finally goes green.

The socially unacceptable make the best lovers because they are so sensitive.
- Candy Darling
commonpeople1: (Clarice)
I wouldn't recommend listening to M.R. James' ghost stories just before going to bed. The noise in the rest of the tower block gets amplified, the faint light in the hallway intensifies. Can anyone from outside the UK listen/watch the BBC through the iPlayer? Because James' ghost stories can be found there in case you like spooking yourself.

To us, it was part of that old tradition of listening to ghost stories during Christmas because that's the only time in the year when you are guaranteed protection from the creatures of the night. On Christmas eve itself, we watched the BBC's haunted house three-part series Crooked House. (Unfortunately only the third episode is now available on the iPlayer. Maybe you can find the others if you are a good detective.) They aren't exactly great ghost stories, but they have nice classic elements in each one of them; and the final episode, The Knocker, is genuinely creepy and had me and [ profile] wink_martindale freaked out at one point.

Yesterday, we walked London's deserted streets and ended up visiting the completely abandoned Olympic site, followed by Stratford. It was a bitch realising no public transport was available and we'd have to walk back home. We stopped by a corner shop on Roman Road for some junk food and I picked up a box of Cheerios without realising it had expired in August 09. Later in the evening we spotted a cockroach crawling on our kitchen counter. We are convinced it snuck out of the Cheerios box.

Daffodils )
commonpeople1: (Toni)
Planet Earth

The spectacle before me was strangely moving. Personal anxiety was blotted out by wonder and admiration; for the sheer beauty of our planet surprised me. It was a huge pearl, set in spangled ebony. It was nacrous, it was an opal. No, it was far more lovely than any jewel. Its patterned colouring was more subtle, more ethereal. It displayed the delicacy and brilliance, the intricacy and harmony of a live thing. Strange that in my remoteness I seemed to feel, as never before, the vital presence of Earth as of a creature alive but tranced and obscurely yearning to wake.

I reflected that not one of the visible features of this celestial and living gem revealed the presence of man. Displayed before me, though invisible, were some of the most congested centres of human population. There below me lay huge industrial regions, blackening the air with smoke. Yet all this thronging life and humanly momentous enterprise had made no mark whatever on the features of the planet. From this high lookout the Earth would have appeared no different before the dawn of man. No visiting angel, or explorer from another planet, could have guessed that this bland orb teemed with vermin, with world-mastering, self-torturing, incipiently angelic beasts.

Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, 1937
commonpeople1: (Rachel)
"Jean Charles de Menezes, we will never forget. Never, never, never."

- Morrissey, Brixton Academy 22 July 2009

On Art

Jun. 14th, 2009 11:02 am
commonpeople1: (Nick)
"The calling of art is to extract us from our daily reality, to bring us to a hidden truth that's difficult to access - to a level that's not material but spiritual. That's what poetry and music do, and that was the first calling of religion. Religion works on some people but not on everyone, because it says, stop thinking and accept what I tell you. That's not valid for people who want to think and reflect. Art is a better way of achieving that, though the aim is the same."

From an interview with Abbas Kiarostami published yesterday.
commonpeople1: (Carol)
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. Choose ten songs; for each song with lyrics, choose a Livejournal friend that matches it.
3. Write down the song name, artist and relevant lyrics section.
4. Tag friends to do the same thing in their journals.

1. Morrissey - Michael's Bones
[ profile] naturalbornkaos's snowman
Your gentle hands are frozen/And your unkissed lips are blue/Your thinning clothes are hopeless/And no one was mad about you

2. Girls Aloud - Wild Horses
[ profile] androktone
This place, the crazy town, too much time for girls to feel strange, yeah/Take back your lazy punks, there'll never be enough no oh baby

3. Arcade Fire - My Body Is a Cage
[ profile] beeorkendurkey
You're standing next to me/My mind holds the key/Set my spirit free/Set my spirit free/Set my body free

4. Patty Griffin - Getting Ready
[ profile] zaubin
I know all the magic's gone/Wish I had a magic wand/I would put a spell on you/You would see it as I do

5. Joy Division - Komakino
[ profile] saint_narcissus
This is the hour when the mysteries emerge/A strangeness so hard to reflect/A moment so moving, goes straight to your heart/The vision has never been met.

6. Buena Vista Social Club - El Cuarto de Tula
[ profile] desayuno_ingles
¡Que llamen a Ibrahim Ferrer, que busquen a los bomberos!/Que yo creo que Tula lo que quiere es que le apaguen el fuego.

7. Blur - Entertain Me
[ profile] bluehelen
A car/A house/Both in a street/The boredom of a sober week/The weekend's here/Hip-hip-hooray/To make the blues/Just go away

8. Depeche Mode - Behind the Wheel
[ profile] denalyia
My little girl/Drive anywhere/Do what you want/I don't care/Tonight/I'm in the hands of fate/I hand myself/Over on a plate/Now

9. Soft Cell - Memorabilia
[ profile] rosamicula
Everywhere I go you know I'd like you all to know/That I'm the one for having fun, just send the bad times on the run/To move around to the softest sound, ecstatic dancing all around

10. Nico - All That Is My Own
[ profile] jellyfish93
He who knows may pass on/The word unknown/And meet me on the desertshore/Meet me on the desertshore

This meme is a slight variation on the one Trixie and Erin tagged me with. You are all invited to do it if you feel like it.
commonpeople1: (Default)

Thank you [ profile] yearning for being a wonderful friend - our eyes, feet and mouth in Paris. Thank you for making our Two Days in Paris so special. We have returned home with many good memories. Remember that you always have a room with us if you happen to be in London. And if you ask me to go to the theatres... I'll say yes!

But you know he’ll always keep movin’
You know he’s never gonna stop movin’
Cause he’s rollin’, he’s the rollin’ stone.
And when you wake up it’s a new morning
The sun is shining, it’s a new morning
But you’re going, you’re going home.

April 2017



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