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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



waylon for friends

Went to Angel Island, a state park in San Francisco Bay (7.9 miles north of my house: so, that would be about Tufnell Park to my Clapham South (here is the right tool to build these metaphors)), where we sailed out for $7, and poked jellyfish and ate chicken and talked about the Singularity and political action and Tom Waits and Internet jurisdiction hacking and mandatory utilities that search your computer for other people’s private information as though it were a dangerous virus, and hurricanes and saw deer and watched the yachts go by. Then I travelled to Oakland, where the houses are run-down, and hid in an alcove of a house filled with books I wanted to read, and spectated on people playing fascinating board games, and talked, as aging gen-xers will, about what the hell it was the boomers thought they were doing in the Seventies (with even more aging boomers as confused as we), and offered that even if we did work to save the world, it would not help, because now we would never remember what directory it was we saved it in. We ate brownies with marshmallows and cayenne pepper, and played Jenga Xtreme and Pandemic, and so on.

Then I went home and finally picked up the book that contained the essay that months ago my flatmate, eyes blazing, declared I had to read after hearing my latest variant on one of my oldest my oldest rants, which is “Romancing the Looky-Loos” by Dave Hickey in Air Guitar. It is very good, too good, and I have to spend too much time chewing over it.

Hickey’s statement is about the relationship between participant and spectator in the creation of art in a democracy, and is mostly about what precise damage we inflict on an artist when they are raised out of their creative domain into the spectacle; especially when artists are not trained to see this as damage, but something to aspire to and expect inspiration from. This is beautifully allied to the old question #1, how many people do you want to be famous for, but with a better twist:

“When I play a little club,” [Waylon Jennings said], “I’m playing songs for people I know. Up there in the lights in front of a stadium crowd, I’m just playin’ Waylon for strangers.”

I met somebody at the party who did the “oh wait, are you Danny who writes that blog?” question. It was great, because he was clearly exactly the sort of person who I wanted to engineer to meet by writing this blog (of course, being dorks, neither of us said a word to each other for the rest of the party, but you know, now we have an excuse to email).

I’ve been worrying a bit that as my Official Blog Sponsorship days wane that I’ve been veering this site to being too personal, but sod it. The personal stuff will chase the looky-loos away, and we can be left to talk in peace, and poke squids, and see deer and hack really bad code into something more reasonable.

Hey my flatmates are back from sailing the Hudson! The house fills again!

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petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.