Saturday, 20 December 2014

Three Terrible Things in 2014 and Three Great things

It's all personal opinion, but I have to say something...

I am slowly going through the past year, trying to remember whether this happened in 2013 or that happened in 2014... and a few things have come up that I need to get off my chest. I'm pairing them with positives, so I don't end up needing additional medication for depression when I read over them...

The Flaming Lips (Terrible) and Slope (Great)

An interesting combination, but the final Untitled production and the collaborative album made by the Last Living Hippies share an interest in iconographies past. But while Laing's study of French poetic love triangles is a merciless deconstruction of macho romanticism, The Flaming Lips have a nostalgic wank over The Beatles.

Admittedly, Laing's collaborators for Slope helped the seriousness: if he had Miley Cyrus on his rolodex instead of Pamela Cater, he would have come up with something as lame as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, too. But while Wayne Coyne wallowed in the lascivious shallows of psychedelia, Laing used the eroticism of two naked actors to conjure all the awkwardness and thrill of dirty sex, before slamming home a dark critique of alternative culture's roll of fame. 

Self-regarding, lazy and derivative, The Flaming Lips are evidence that while John Lydon is no longer worth a click, his dictum 'never trust a hippy' stands for the ages.

That Producer I met during the Fringe and BHP
It's not just that I enjoy their publications - Laptop Guy is a synthesis of Jack Lothian's clear storytelling and Sha Nazir's increasingly distinctive art - BHP are living up to their mission 'to expand comic culture.' Whether that means getting cos-players to hang out in the CCA during Comic Con (meaning that high art and the performativity of dressing up like Wonder Woman meet, at last), or championing sequential machinics as a valid academic discipline, The Naz, Lothian and Mark B are pushing the boundaries of the old four colour funny books.

That producer, on the other hand, told me that all critics ought to be shot, because they damage the reputation of his restaurants by pointing out their failings. I guess he has the same attitude to those Health and Safety Inspectors who insist that the chef shouldn't add Winner's Sauce to every dish on the menu. I asked him whether I ought to change the label on my business card to 'cheerleader'.

The Eye and Scottish Hip Hop
I am rather hoping that someone will explain why Scottish hip hop is more than just an embarrassing meeting of The Proclaimers and Vanilla Ice... that's fucking scathing, and I have spent the year trying not to be rude about Scottish hip hop but...

I'm not mentioning any particular artists by name, because Scottish hip hop is an emerging art form, and some of the people involved might well be nice people (although I have it on record that at least one rapper acts like a proper arse in the club). However, the main reference point for too much SHH is The Streets and the attempts to adapt Chuck D's proclamation that hip hop can be 'the black CNN' to Caledonia has encouraged lumbering raps that are either naive or confused. 

There is interesting potential in the appropriation of African-American culture by Scottish rappers, but it would be nice if they appropriated the aesthetic values as well as the surface. I'm talking creative use of beats, flow and personality in the voice, production polish - the glitchy tunes and clumsy rhymes might be a dramaturgical choice, but the dramaturgical consequence is... it sounds shit, mate.

The Eye, on the other hand, is the latest work in process by Jack Wrigley, Robbie Thomson and Emilia Weber, and the last vestige of Untitled. Expect something sensual emerging in 2015. 

No comments :

Post a Comment