Busy day. The air is cooling.
“… this is “journey music“ in a literal sense. Schlienz and his partner Hanno Braun actually recorded the piece in the loneliness of Iceland’s high plateaus, nearby active volcanos and in the midst of stony deserts – hence the title…”
It plays like archive telemetry from a 1970s expedition to another world.
It’s also available on cassette, but I would have paid real money for a CD release.
I must have been around 14. Rayleigh Library and the Oxfam shop a few doors down the high street from it, which someone was clearly using to pay things forward and warp younger minds. In a single year — may even have been just spring-summer-autumn — these things happened to me:
(Written 16 March 2015, recovered from morning.computer)
MALIGN VELOCITIES by Benjamin Noys is a recent work on the subject of accelerationism, a notion whose general thrust is that, in order to achieve the goals of revolution, capitalism should be unchained, turbo-charged, and driven to its natural conclusion so that it explodes and dies. Noys provides an extremely thorough historical context for the idea, and it’s a fascinating deep dive. I lingered on a wonderful bit about the Italian Futurists, which lead me into some memory-refreshment on the Vorticists. There are times, in the early part of the book, where it feels like Noys has some score-settling to do, but it quickly becomes a superb and largely non-technical exp;loration of a very interesting space. For me, it didn’t sustain towards the end, with a Freudian seizure of a chapter on “anal capitalism” and a tangled final statement, but everything up to that was marvellous.
Accelerationism is, for me, worth studying briefly, as it seems to me to be a response to pervasive capitalism brought on by the mental illnesses that capitalism has induced in people. (Schizophrenia is talked about, a lot, e.g. “in Nietzsche’s ‘schizo’ delirium he announced ‘I am all the names of history’”) Noys himself calls them “the fetishists of capital” at one point, but I have a feeling, and Noys often implies, that it’s a deeper malaise.
Capitalism is lately cast as that Lovecraftian force that some people should not look directly at for fear of going completely mad and being banged up in the Arkham Sanitarium. Maybe meditating upon it as some Dark God From Beyond Space that is crushing the world into new shapes just leads some people to rub their mouths on it and plead for it to go faster. And never stop.
(Also: accelerationism, like speculative realism and its surrounding notions, kind of strikes me as Science Fiction Condition philosophical enterprise. its roots may indeed go back to the 19th Century, but the modern conception is something else.)
(originally written 2 Jan 2015, recovered from morning.computer)
I can’t remember who said it first. But it was said that a screenplay is only ever half a piece of art. If that. It cannot be a complete statement, because it is animated and changed by acting, cinematography, sound, economics and direction. This is only right and correct, of course, as making a film is a massively collaborative act. The nature of screenwriting, too, is that the original voice is rarely the last voice the film speaks with. One might wonder why 97% of the screenwriting community bother writing them any more. They can only ever be scaffolding, and very few are ever made. And, with US cinema ticket sales at a low not seen since 1995, and writers running with open arms towards television, and Marvel and DC releasing their film production schedules for years in advance, much of the near-future output of American cinema is mathematically predictable.
I have, however, been endlessly fascinated by Cormac McCarthy’s screenplay for THE COUNSELOR. Any number of people will tell you it’s a bad screenplay for any number of technical, classical and structural reasons. And yet, it stands as a complete statement, in and of itself. Perhaps that’s why Ridley Scott apparently found it so hard to film, unable to save himself from treading on its fingers and speaking over its words.
Only McCarthy, of course, could offer a screenplay like that. (Although JC Chandor’s abbreviated screenplay for ALL IS LOST, by its largely silent nature, is also odd in its way.) And it was published as a book, joining McCarthy’s canon. It’s a fluke.
All that said: the book makes me wonder. Film is still loved, as a concept, for its central affordance: to depict a transformational experience in two hours-ish, and, right from the start, to show things that have never been seen before. Literary fiction has flirted, many times, with forms that resemble screenplays. It’s easy to daydream about some (final!) phase in popular cinema. I might even just be imagining some new iteration of the early relationship between film and theatre, I don’t know. (I write these first thing in the morning, remember!) Maybe I’m just sitting in front of a stack of WGA screeners, wishing for better films.
THE COUNSELOR makes me think about literary screenwriting, for the first time in years: in, I suppose, the way a beginning screenwriter must. It’s nice to think about more things like that, before the word “film” becomes inextricably redefined as “theme park preview” and everything else is seen on home screens.
(Thinking out loud. Still assembling a thought.)
(written 3 Jan 2015, recovered from morning.computer)
While we continue to work on Season 3 – and, as I recently noted in the newsletter, I only wish I could show you some of the amazing things Sam and his team are making – it turns out the physical collection of season 2 is arriving this autumn. So you can enjoy the beautiful art, and Richard ad-libbing swears after he’s been in the booth for an hour and starting to get punchy, in lovely high definition.