Sunday, October 03, 2004

The arty Times Magazine, A Clockwork Orange and cockney slang, Fiery Furnaces and the Wilco concert, Cat Stevens the terrorist

Today the Sunday Times Magazine was all about art--so, with no boring "Name that Disease" and etc. to skip over, I read the whole thing. I especially liked the part about graffiti art in NYC and about the modern-Medici art girls. I liked the apartment that had those wicker hat lamps: veddy cool.

And now for a god-awful segway: speaking of "veddy," anyone read Burgess's A Clockwork Orange (which came before the movie, thank you very much)? It was written from Alex's point of view, so it was rife with cockney "nadsat" slang and odd expressions. The movie--which I really liked, except for a few of the moments of "ultra-violence" near the beginning. Which I had nightmares about--also used some of the slang, but not nearly as much as the book did. There must have been at least a hundred of these odd words, and no glossary in the book, but after about 50 pages I knew all of it. Things like "viddy" for "see" and "horrorshow" for "great"--all derived from Russian and British slang. This slang also had another purpose, in my opinion; at the beginning, when all Alex's acts of ultra-violence are so graphically explained, I didn't understand so many of the words that I had only a foggy idea of what was happening--that it was violent and bad. It was like a very subtle censorship that Burgess put in for the reader, something that Stanley Kubrick's film did NOT have. Later on I figured out the words for "beat," "bloody," "nose," "face," "woman," "rape," etc. Thank god I didn't understand them at the beginning.

Another book I hope to read soon is China Mieville's The Scar; it's supposed to be great, and as you all might have noticed I'm going through a bit of a sci-fi fantasy alternate-reality stage in books and movies. So. I have to finish my other books first, though.

Went to the Wilco concert at Brandeis last night and it was unbelievably good. I went with my sister and dad and was slightly embarassed at first because my dad was the only person older than college-age and my sister and I were the only ones younger. But then the music began and I didn't care at all. The openers were the Fiercy Furnaces, which were heavy-metal punk with a very punk-grunge rebel skinny-rocker shaggy-banged girl singer, two black-shirted shaggy-haired skinny-rocker boys on guitar and keyboards, and a crazy sweaty skinny-rocker drummer who made funny intense expressions the whole set. They played for about 45 minutes, then roadies spent a half-hour setting up the Wilco instruments and fresh towels.

Then Wilco. And they were amazing. We were in this college gymnasium that was quite small, everyone standing and jammed together to the point of immobility. The air was already bitter and pungent with everybody's sweat after the Fiery Furnaces, and Wilco hadn't even begun yet. But it was all strangely exhilirating, and I was about ten feet from the stage. Of course there were two very tall people directly in front of me, which at first I was quite worried about, but it worked out in the end. On was craning his neck to the right, the other to the left, so I just looked through the diamond-shaped hole made by their heads and shoulders and--guess what!--I had a perfect view of Jeff Tweedy, from the chest up. If I stood on my tiptoes and leaned to the right I could also get a good view of the HAWT blond guitarist, on whom I developed an intense crush over the course of the two-something hour set. (For photos of the band, go here.)

They played for over an hour, with the occasional requisite "go vote and take this country back from Bush the tyrant!" shout-out, and then they all ran offstage. We cheered and chanted and clapped for an encore. Five minutes of this, and they're back on the stage. Play Spiders (Kidsmoke) and then leave the stage again. We keep on cheering. Ten minutes of this, and they're back--and they go on to play about fifteen more songs! It was incredible, great, long--they must have played more than thirty songs total; I'll see if I can find a playlist of the concert online.

Anyway, Jeff Tweedy's a genius, college kids are cool, concerts are unbelievably better than just listening to songs on my iPod--and oh, by the way, my ticket was $14. Yeah, I couldn't believe it either.

Incidentally, did you all hear about Cat Stevens's (now called Yusef Islam) plane being diverted because he was on some government terrorist watch list? Yeah, nice job Homeland Security: we really know you're fighting terrorists when you arrest the guy who wrote Peace Train!! Yes, that sentence did merit two explanation points.

But I won't rant, though I'd love to; it's Sunday and me being me, I have to write a thousand essays AND do my Trig work. So hey ho, hey ho, it's off to work I go.


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