I can’t see much of a future

The bandwidth problem was a false alarm. I’ve put the Television Personalities, the Only Ones and the Swell Maps video back up so far for the people who missed them.

The Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love” I’ve always been split on whether the wounded whine of adolescent love or the somber resignation of the mature is the tone that most affects me. Resignation hurts more (for me anyway,) but the giddy indignation the whine is quite a high.

This performance of the Buzzcocks is relatively common, so i’m not seeing it for the first time, unlike the previous three. I don’t know why this stupid myth that punks cannot play their instruments ever got any traction with anyone aside from prog wanks.

the Late Great Peter Cook’s record collection

My comrade the Late Great Peter Cook has started something like a mp3 blog on a MySpace account. Right now he has tracks by the Cuddly Toys, 18 Karat Gold, and Zaine Griff (who is new to me.) He has some write-ups in the blog section of it. It looks like he’s going to updating once per week.

A needless disclaimer: The Late Great Peter Cook is not Peter Cook. It feels worth noting as i get some peculiar comments from people who cannot make such obvious distinctions.

Eco on Belief

A column in the Telegraph that mentions Chesterton, Joyce, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, St. Nicholas, Julius Evola, and Dan Brown (among other things).

Human beings are religious animals. It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion. You can see this in the positivist scientists of the 19th century.

They insisted that they were describing the universe in rigorously materialistic terms – yet at night they attended seances and tried to summon up the spirits of the dead. Even today, I frequently meet scientists who, outside their own narrow discipline, are superstitious – to such an extent that it sometimes seems to me that to be a rigorous unbeliever today, you have to be a philosopher. Or perhaps a priest.

And we need to justify our lives to ourselves and to other people. Money is an instrument. It is not a value – but we need values as well as instruments, ends as well as means. The great problem faced by human beings is finding a way to accept the fact that each of us will die.

bandwidth: an apology

Although i thought that we were okay for a few days, i estimated wrong. I’ve had to delete most fo the mp3s and videos as we are way over our allotted bandwidth, as far as i can figure. I only hope that i’m wrong.


Update: It looks like it was a false alarm. I might be using the wrong measure of bandwidth, and if i’m as wrong as i think i am, we still have more bandwidth to spare for a long, long time. Otherwise, if we are in excess, it turns out the hosting company has more reasonable prices than i ever would have imagined. I’m too busy to put the files back up this morning though.

Goodbye Big Sky

One of my favorite musicians ever, Chris Whitley died on November 20th this year. He was only 45. This comes as a HUGE shock to me. Even a casual listener of Little Lighthouse knows that I played Whitley a lot in my shows. This guy showed up in the early nineties and from the very beginning became one of the leaders in the “new blues” movement. First album, Living with The Law was a decent debut purified by Lanois and his helpers. Then in ’95 Whitley made a classic, Din of Extasy where he made a perfect marriage of grunge and blues completely challenging rules of both genres and thus being true to the nature of rock’n’roll. In ’97 another classic: Terra Incognita, with noisy funk and a big hit Automatic. This was already the end of nineties and big labels started to drop artists who experiment. Whitley makes an indiependent album Drit Floor, completely acoustinc, recorded in his father’s bathroom. This one is regarded as his best album ever. Indeed, a special magic was caight on this album with some of the most amazing national steel guitar playing ever recorded. That’s a rare moment where artist was caught in an absolute height of his inspiration and performance. Similar mood was a year after on his live album Live at Martyrs and also on last year’s Weed where he re-recorded his greatest hits in “dirt floor” style. Year 2000 brings a new surprise and again a completely new sound: Whitley puts out an all-covers album with an unbearably dark, heavy and numb atmosphere. His live concerts with full band at that time were very loud and fast in contrast! The next two albums were somewhat weaker: Rocket House and Hotel Vast Horizon, but in ’04, besides Weeds (which I already mentioned), a new masterpiece: War Time Blues came out. This is lyrically probably his greatest work. Finally, just a few months ago Whitley put out his last album, Soft Dangerous Shores, once again breaking all the rules. Here he adds noisy industrial rhythms and drones. Whitley left behind his daughter Trixie among others who sung on several of his albums even as a very small girl. She obviously took a lot of her father’s talent and I hope that she will continue his musical mission.

I’ll add a few tunes soon.

The Labyrinth Subculture

I was fiddling about on the internet a few days ago and stumbled onto something quirky. I know, I know… “QUIRKY?! On the INTERNET?!?!?” Believe me, brothers and sisters, this is much bigger than the internet.

It all began with me sitting at my desk and staring into space. My mind ran to my time in Europe and the hedge maze in Hanover that kept me occupied (and unbelieveably frustrated) for nearly a half hour. I decided to look into mazes and labyrinths here in the States. Allow me to share with you what I found…

I came upon this article and this quote:

Old stone formations are still being unearthed around the world, particularly in the East, even as spiritual yearnings have sparked an explosion of labyrinth-building in the West.

An explosion of labyrinth building? Indeed. Take this article from Milan Michigan, for example. It seems that a local contractor has found a sense of purpose (and a shot at a legacy) in his involvement in the construction of a labyrinth for The Sisters of Dominican campus in Adrian, near Siena Heights University. The article also contains this gem about the symbolism of the circle:

In the world of mathematics, the circle is “the locus of all points equidistant from a central point.” Throughout literature, science, and history, the circle has been known to, and for many still holds great symbolism. As well as symbolism, the circle has many “practical” applications: the literature circle is a discussion group focusing on a piece of writing; circles of light are commonly referred to as rainbows; in the Islamic culture, the circle is a unit of measure; for Native Americans, the circle represents the life cycle; there are crop circles, social circles, circles of influence, Stonehenge (England), the Stone Circles of The Gambia (Africa), circular wedding rings, and music circles. Our eyes are circles, we have been on planes circling the airport waiting for landing, Johnny Cash went into “A Burnin’ Ring of Fire,” and while heading west to settle California, Oregon, and other frontier states, pioneers circled the wagon for protection and camaraderie.

Okee Dokee.

At this point I think I should clarify: What in the beginning was a search for hedge mazes (and the like) quickly became a love fest for Chartes-style labyrinths that people walk for spiritual reflection. My interest was piqued, but I could smell the tell-tale stench of the New Age. Boy, was I right.

According to the Labyrinth Locator, there are FOUR public Labyrinths in Mississippi, six in Louisiana, and (for the hell of it) nine in Maine. There are “private” Labyrinths in each state as well.

In MS and LA, many of the labyrinths are associated with Methodist, Episcopal, and Unitarian churches. A lot of it strikes me as new-agey. For example, Labyrinth Tenders, a company in Baton Rouge, hosts a grass sculpted labyrinth for the public. They offer consultations, facilitated walks, and design services for those who need to “get their labyrinth on”. From their site:

“So far, I’ve come up with the following: Modern man builds churches made of brick or wood or stone to consecrate spaces, conduct ceremony, and make contact with Spirit. But nomadic/pagan peoples in olden times performed a ritual of “casting a circle” which consecrated any space, indoors or out, for sacred activity. This circle, they believed, cloaked the participants in a mantle of energetic protection during the altered states of awareness they attained during ritual or prayer, a time which they referred to as being “between worlds”.
Similarly, I perceive my labyrinth as a highly charged outdoor space wherein the energy of the user/users gathers and builds quickly to serve a specific purpose. Before groups use my labyrinth, I usually walk clockwise around its outer perimeter to “charge” the space for my guests. In fact, I recommend anyone walk clockwise around any labyrinth they are about to enter, consecrating the space to your purpose, and notice the difference in its power. “

See this page for a helpful schematic.

There is even a Baton Rouge Labyrinth Project. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I nominate Badger as Official Orbis Quintus Labyrinth Investigator, Baton Rouge Sector. I hope he reports back to us on the vibes.

General links:

Labyrinthos– An interesting site that explores the history, symbolism, and apparent ubiquity of the labyrinth. See in particular the photo album.

The Labyrinth Society– Borges, ladies and gentlemen, is turning in his grave.

And last but certainly not least: Veriditas, “The Voice of the Labyrinth Movement”.

Range Creek Canyon Fremont site

Regarding the disputed Fremont site, I don’t think Wilcox is bluffing, but if the state is considering letting hunters destroy it regardless, i can see why he would want to extract more money for his troubles. It certainly gives him leverage in saying what will be done with the property.

This kind of blackmail makes me uncomfortable, but Wilcox have proved himself a better custodian of the site than many would have been. Hopefully his threats to open the land to oil and gas development will galvanize efforts to preserve it. The destruction of this Fremont site would be a tragic loss, but i refuse to brand him for acting out of pure spite.