Sunday, 30 October 2011

Miscellany: Illustration, Miles, Buddy Rich, Machine Brain, Improvised Writing

Here's a lovely illustration of finches:

Here's Buddy Rich smoking a pipe whilst playing drums. Perfect Playboy music...

Incongruous Yamaha product placement tie-in with Roman Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby':

Playboy July 1968

The clocks having just been turned back here in the UK, I marvel at the computer's ability to do so automatically. I think it knows a lot more than I give it credit for. It probably knows a lot more than I do. It knows about many things, except my life story, and my thoughts, which are deeply personal and sacred... unless I put them all into the computer and into the public domain. People do this. They feed the machine. Perhaps one day the thoughts people feed into the machine will be used against us all...the machine is learning from us...learning how smart, stupid, frail, creative, strong and boring we can all be. One day it may start to sing 'Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do...'...

The art of improvising in music is best illustrated by America's great Jazz musicians, as you know, although I recently had a little online debate about their qualities compared to those of UK exponents, and whilst comparisons in competitive form are somewhat stupid, it lasted a while, and at the end of it neither of us had changed our opinion, as is so often the way in debates. My friend suggested that the works of Nucleus were equal to what Miles Davis was doing around the same time, to which I responded: 'Rubbish!', without saying 'Rubbish!'. But it is rubbish, because for all the admirable efforts of UK Jazz Fusioneers they did not produce anything like the genius of 'In A Silent Way', or the 'Jack Johnson' sessions...or the music that can be heard on several 'live' albums made by Miles back then. No-one will ever convince me otherwise.

I was going improvise on this keyboard but got distracted by having to make a coffee, then clean part of the kitchen floor 'cause it was filthy and by the time I'd say back down the desire to do that had subsided - then I thought I'd write about not improvising, and how I'd love to be the writing equivalent of Charlie Parker, which, contrary to popular opinion, would not make me another Kerouac because Kerouac was more like Sonny Rollins in his later years, ie, improvising at length, don't you think? Whereas an improvised poem, brief, would be more in tune with Bop - and perhaps Lester Bangs fancied himself as an improviser, and no doubt was, more in the mould of late-Coltrane, Sanders I'm thinking that all writing is improvising to start with, but the parts that musicians cannot leave out are what get edited out by either editors or the writers themselves, which you could call 'mistakes', or meanderings, or longueurs if they prove 'boring', that being a subjective term, of course, because I don't know about you but I like the fact that blogging is a form of freedom of expression without an editor interfering unless the writer's internal editor gets to work and that, they say of novels, is very necessary in the end, and I agree to a point, but only a point, which depends on the writers attitude, philosophy, intent since, I do believe, that some of the most interesting parts of anyone's writing, should they be allowed to remain, are those free-range passages. Too much writing is the equivalent of factory farming.

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