The annual Earth Day Matsuri (Festival) is taking place at Yoyogi Park’s event space this weekend (20-21 April 2018). Every year I think I won’t go, I end up going, and enjoy myself in the process.
Every year when I come back I can’t help but think, “If we all consume less and then, when we consume we’re more thoughtful about it”, wouldn’t that be better for the environment than buying a bunch of organically grown and ethically harvested cotton made into a T-Shirt you don’t need?
Of course, that is a gross over simplification of the complexities. And the reality of existence is that one needs income to live pretty much everywhere on the planet. By not consuming you negatively impact the job of the farmer and picker and weaver and dyer and …
Jason Scott just posted all of the Infocom source, which is glorious!
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“This material has been kicking around for a while now. If you search for articles about “the Infocom drive”, you’ll see some discussion from years past. Actually, don’t do that, it’s mostly old arguments that don’t need to be rehashed.
The point is that a great deal of historical information about Infocom has been preserved — but it’s not publicly archived. You can’t go research it anywhere. Nobody admits to having it, because it’s “proprietary IP”, and you’re not supposed to trade in that stuff because companies like Activision make the rules.
So when Jason puts this information online, he’s taking a stance. The stance is: history matters. Copyright is a balance between the rights of the owner to profit and the rights of the public to investigate, discuss, and increase the sphere of culture. Sometimes the balance needs a kick.
Quite possibly all these repositories will be served with takedown requests tomorrow. I’m downloading local copies for myself tonight, just in case.”
Some Americans like their pop musicians to be more accessible, less theatrical, and eccentric–and generally more desperate for the approval of their audience. Kate Bush, thankfully, has never seemed bothered by this need. She could leave the spotlight when she needed to, or leave the music business altogether for a time, and yet remain a creative force to be reckoned with for four decades now. Her legacy has permeated contemporary music since she appeared in 1978, then retired from the stage the following year after her first tour to focus solely on writing, recording, and making short musical films.
Her debut, The Kick Inside_, proved that an original new songwriter worth watching had arrived, and she delivered on the promise in ten studio albums and a career she seemed to sum up in the title of “This Woman’s Work,” from 1989’s _The Sensual World. It is work she has always done in her own delightfully odd, passionate, eccentrically British, theatrical, and deftly literary way, all qualities that have made her a massive star in the UK and a hero to artists like Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Grimes, Florence and the Machine, and too many more to name.
Bush’s unusual traits also make her a perfect artist to pay tribute to in an orchestral setting, as Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony has done in the 2018 concert also titled “This Woman’s Work” and featuring the very-Bush-worthy vocal talents of guest singers Jennie Abrahamson and Malin Dahlstrom. It’s “a towering tribute,” the Symphony writes, “with hit songs and pure poetry in special arrangements by Martin Schaub.” And it arrived to mark a special moment indeed: the 40th anniversary of the release of Bush’s brilliantly strange debut single “Wuthering Heights.” See the full performance at the top of the post and excerpted songs throughout, including Abrahamson’s cover of “This Woman’s Work,” above.
Appearing in the ghostly guise and ethereally high-pitched voice of Cathy Earnshaw, doomed heroine of Emily Bronte’s novel, Bush captivated millions in two videos that are now absolute classics. She drew on the mime theatrics of her teacher Lindsay Kemp, who previously mentored David Bowie, and gave us the indelible image of a woman possessed by weird imagination, uncanny musical talent, and some frightening dance moves. The images and sounds she created in just those 3 and a half minutes are iconic. Or, putting it a little differently in a short BBC documentary, John Lydon says, “Kate Bush and her grand piano& that’s like John Wayne and his saddle& her shrieks and warbles are beauty beyond belief.”
If you came to Bush later in her career, say during 1985’s huge_ Hounds of Love_, and somehow missed her unbelievable first fine art-rock performances on film, watch both the white and red dress versions first, then watch the Gothenburg Symphony’s glowing, career-spanning tribute to a woman who “laid the groundwork for [a] generation of performers,” as Marc Hirsh writes at NPR. Even though he is an American who does not care for Kate Bush, Hirsh can’t seem to help enumerating the very reasons she is so special to so many, and he features a number of her videos that demonstrate why she’s an artist her fans love “from the very core of their being.” Kate Bush’s First Ever Television Appearance, Performing “Kite” & “Wuthering Heights” on German TV (1978) The Largest Ever Tribute to Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” Choreographed by a Flashmob in Berlin
Vincent van Gogh never went to Japan, but he did spend quite a bit of time in Arles, which he considered the Japan of France. What made him think of the place that way had to do entirely with aesthetics. The Netherlands-born painter had moved to Paris in 1886, but two years later he set off for the south of France in hopes of finding real-life equivalents of the “clearness of the atmosphere and the gay colour effects” of Japanese prints. These days, we’ve all seen at least a few examples of that kind of art and can imagine more or less exactly what he was talking about. But how did the man who painted Sunflowers and The Starry Night come to draw such inspiration from what must have felt like such exotic art of such distant a provenance?
“There was huge admiration for all things Japanese in the second half of the nineteenth century,” says the Van Gogh Museum’s visual essay on the painter’s relationship with Japan. “Very few artists in the Netherlands studied Japanese art. In Paris, by contrast, it was all the rage. So it was there that Vincent discovered the impact Oriental art was having on the West, when he decided to modernise his own art.”
Having got a deal on about 660 Japanese woodcuts in the winter of 1886-87, apparently with an intent to trade them, he ultimately held on to them, copied them, and even used their elements as backgrounds for his own portraits.
“My studio’s quite tolerable,” he wrote to his brother Theo, “mainly because I’ve pinned a set of Japanese prints on the walls that I find very diverting. You know, those little female figures in gardens or on the shore, horsemen, flowers, gnarled thorn branches.” More than a diversion, he saw in their radical difference from the rigorously realistic, convention-bound traditional European painting a way toward “the art of the future,” which he was convinced “had to be colourful and joyous, just like Japanese printmaking.” As he developed what he called a “Japanese eye” while living in Arles, “his compositions became flatter, more intense in colour, with clear lines and decorative patterns.”
Like hundreds of other teenagers in late seventies England, Susan Ballion, better known as Siouxsie Sioux, embraced the anyone-can-do-it-ness of punk after seeing the Sex Pistols. In 1976, already a tastemaker in the scene, she threw a band together with Sid Vicious on drums, and with no practice, or even any songs, they got onstage, and improvised a 20-minute rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.” There launched the career of a post-punk, dark pop legend, spanning that first anarchic gig, the infamous Bill Grundy TV appearance, some of the most influential British rock of the late-70s and 80s, and major tours and hits throughout the last three decades.
Despite the awards, star collaborations, and multi-generational influence, Siouxsie’s striking musical talent has often been given short shrift in the U.S. press. For example, a 1992 _Los Angeles Times _concert write-up after the release of her biggest U.S. hit, “Kiss Them for Me,” cast her as “the leader of a cult of weird chicks,” writes Liz Ohnanesian at Noisey, “in a review that spent five paragraphs on her looks and a whopping two on the music.” Maybe, “at that point, the band was used to that.” But it’s a serious oversight.
“Much has been written about the vocal range of artists like Freddie Mercury,” Dangerous Minds points out, “but not so much on the equally brilliant Siouxsie Sioux.” If the comparison seems stretched, consider another one: Kate Bush.
Though very different artists, both released debut albums in 1978 and became style icons who are as influential for their look as for their vocal prowess. Siouxsie, whose voice “developed from spiky, punky vocals to rich, powerful, and glorious textured tones& can hit the high notes and bring an unnerving warmth and menace to her lower range.”
With Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Creatures, and in her solo work, she has given cool, icy voice to gothic sentiments and images, conveying ache and fear and brutal beauty. In the videos here, listen to Siouxsie’s isolated vocals from 1988’s “The Killing Jar” (hear the original right above), an excellent example of “just how good she is.” Above, also hear her vocal track from “Hong Kong Garden,” her 1978 debut single, and “arguably the most important of the early post-punk hits,” writes Robert Webb at The Independent.
Listen to her sing 1985’s “Cities in Dust,” about the destruction of Pompeii, and below, hear “Kiss Them for Me,” a cryptic tribute to actress Jayne Mansfield and a song that made a new generation of Siouxsie and the Banshees fans when it came out in 1991. Siouxsie has attracted a newly devoted fanbase every decade since the 70s for her style, songwriting, and her voice, an instrument that deserves greater attention.
“These days,” she said in a 2007 interview, the legacy of punk has “almost been reduced to a fashion statement. I think there’s been a false sense of empowerment for women” in music. “Almost as if there’s that ever-present preoccupation with body form and image& not about expressing any style or intent.” Young artists looking for genuine inspiration will always find the real thing in Siouxsie’s impressive body of work.
via Dangerous Minds Hear Siouxsie and the Banshee’s Raw & Completely Improvised First Show, with Sid Vicious on Drums (1976) The Sex Pistols Make a Scandalous Appearance on the Bill Grundy Show & Introduce Punk Rock to the Startled Masses (1976)
A few years ago, conservative commentators in America began using a term for young college students-mostly liberal-who insisted on #noplatforming speakers they disagreed with: Snowflakes. It was said with both a sneer and well-meaning wisdom because the world just isn’t going to work if you think you can block out or censure everything you find objectionable.
But here’s the problem. It’s totally _hypocritical. Because on all sides of the political debate we have this snowflake tendency. Conservatives freak out now when people question or criticize the president (indeed, the president himself loves to dish it out, but complains constantly about having to take it). You’d be amazed at the number of Donald Trump supporters-the same ones who accuse liberals of Trump Derangement Syndrome-who send in angry notes to DailyStoic.com that illustrate not just their inability to deal with views they disagree with, but also exhibit what ought to be called _Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Why point this out?
Because the whole aim of Stoicism is to reduce the amount of offense we take from things that are outside our control. Remember, Epictetus says we are complicit when we allow someone to make us angry, when their words produce a disproportionate reaction from us. Intellectually, a philosopher has to be someone who can calmly entertain, consider, and engage with views and ideas different from their own. The notion that you would love listening to a band and then turn them off because they “brought politics into it” is positively infantile, whatever those politics are. Or that you’d turn away from a friend or a parent because they are on their own intellectual or social journey. (Or unsubscribe from a free email you otherwise liked!)
Snowflakes, whether they are on the left or the right, are miserable because they need the world to be a certain way-their way. They are constantly at risk of being upset and disturbed because someone else-someone with views different than their own-has the power to say or do or think for themselves. A Stoic, on the other hand, is open-minded and content to let others live and think as they wish. Not only that, but they relish the opportunity to have their own views challenged, because they know they grow stronger for it.
Don’t be a snowflake. Be a Stoic.
I like this.
I started using the term “snowflake” a long time ago to describe young adults who were ill prepared for the real world, like the twenty-something who wanted to bring his mom to a job interview with me.
Eventually I started using the term to mean anyone, myself included, who lack emotional or intellectual resiliency.
Once it became a common epithet of trolls and the right, I ditched it.
My interest in Stoicism developed independently, but I’m happy to merge the two as Daily Stoic lays out.
I did my KonMari before I knew I would relocate to Japan. I felt so good when I was done. There was a sad time where my house was insanely cluttered – my bedroom, living room, and basement were embarrassingly populated with stuff. It wasn’t dirty, per se, but was starting down the border slippery slope.
One I purged, I’ve not looked back. I want to start the process again as I’ve collected things here that no longer spark joy.
While I’m disappointed this happened and wish the best for those laid off, I don’t know how significant a loss this actually is. I think I learned BuzzFeed had a news department that wasn’t link-bait a few weeks ago.
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “The Killing Jar” from Peepshow (1988) is easily one of the band’s finest tracks from an incredible body of work that has aged with grace. I consider this isolated recording below of Siouxsie’s soaring and hauntingly majestic vocals to be a gift from a time when I wore too much eyeliner and drove hundreds of miles with my best friend to see the Peepshow performance in a small Detroit theater. Yes, it was worth it.
And here is the full recording of “The Killing Jar”: