Monday, August 01, 2005

Jarmusch and Joujouka

I love summer mornings. I woke up at 12:30, then I had coffee and chocolate-chip cookies while listening to these indie covers of bubblegum-pop songs and reading about Jim Jarmusch’s eccentric film-making style. I remember seeing Stranger than Paradise a while ago, and being completely baffled, because it was unlike anything. I understand why Jarmusch’s films have been described as sort of foreign films set in America.

This one part is the truest thing I’ve heard anyone say about how passions ought to be—how unreserved and encompassing and silly and obsessive:
“His [Jarmusch’s] passions, which reflect his resolute disinterest in the conventional, include the study of mushrooms ('I almost died after eating wild mushrooms'); bird-watching ('In 12 years, I've identified about 80 birds in my yard in my home in the Catskills'); the authorship of Shakespeare's plays (‘I think it was Christopher Marlowe'); the history of cinema ('Some mornings I'll wake up and say, 'There's an Ophuls film I haven't seen, and I need to see it today'); and, most of all, music. He wrote Broken Flowers while listening to recordings from the early 70's by Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian jazz-funk artist (whose music ended up in the film), and is currently enthralled by a duo called Coco Rosie, who, as he described them, ‘sound like two little Billie Holidays an octave higher if you were on acid in Tokyo in 1926.’”
And at one point in the article Jarmusch talks about the NYC of the ‘70s, when he went to Columbia there; it’s pretty much exactly the way I romanticize it, though I think it’s unfortunately become a great deal more gentrified since then…
“During the late 70's in New York, anything seemed possible. You could make a movie or a record and work part time, and you could find an apartment for 160 bucks a month. And the conversations were about ideas. No one was talking about money. It was pretty amazing. I don't like nostalgia…But, still, damn, it was fun. I'm glad I was there.''
- - - - -

So, when I get interested in something, the first thing I usually do is jump from page to page on Wikipedia. As a result, I learned yesterday about Dadaism, Jean Arp, Tristan Tzara, the Cabaret Voltaire, Georges Bataille, Fluxus, the Master Musicians of Joujouka*, Brion Gysin, the Dreamachine, and more. Good stuff.
*The Master Musicians of Joujouka: (or, as I keep on accidentally typing, “the Master Magicians of Joujouka”). This is a 4,000-year-old Moroccan rock band; while living in Tangiers, Brion Gysin created his 1001 Nights café solely to employ the Master Musicians so that he could hear them play every night. (Gysin was friends with William S. Burroughs, so I’m guessing that’s how the Beats were introduced to (and subsequently enamored of) the Master Musicians.) I’ve ordered their CD, and I’m looking forward to it enormously. Incidentally, the CD was commissioned by Brian Jones, so I guess even the Stones were fond of these lira-playing rascals.

Also, on an entirely unrelated note—I’ve been reading some Flannery O’Connor lately, and I just finished “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Which was, well, shocking. At least, it was not at all what I expected. It was…quite a tumult of grotesque characters and banality and horrifying turns of event. But anyway. I finished Sandman a few days ago, and damn. I think I’ll write about it tomorrow.


Blogger thecoolestblog said...

Cool blog and cool message

2:54 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Thanks Coolio.

6:39 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

I read a book about Brian Jones and the musicians of Joujouka. I still don't know if that book was fact or fiction because I bought it deep discount at a dollar store or some obscure place. It was said about Brian Jones that he could pick up a musical instrument from anywhere in the world and be able to play it. He was really an underrated musician and screwed by the Stones. But he's my favorite Dead Rock Star.

9:11 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Yeah, Brian Jones is fantastic. I want that book!--can I find it on Amazon?


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