Category Archives: literature

WHAT DID CHARLIE PARKER EAT

“What did Charlie Parker eat?”

“Eat? Everything. As far as I know.”

“Did he eat a lot?”

“I don’t know. Never seen him eat.”

“You never saw Charlie Parker eat? How come?”

“Never had dinner together.”

“You never did?” I say quite loud, combining real and feigned surprises.

“Lunch or breakfast.”

“I’m surprised to hear that. Do you think anybody ever did?” I stick with it, wagging my hands. “No one ever talks about it, you know. It’s not part of the legend.”

I am looking at Mingus from the corner of my eye. His head is bent down on his chest. His eyes are focused on his buttons, listening.

“If he was mystical and had so many things that he did,” I conclude, “he would probably have things that he ate.”

His head comes up. “I never even saw him eat a sandwich.” He takes a deep breath. “Max said he saw him eat out of a bag one time.”

“What?”

“Max Roach said he saw him eatin’ out of a bag one time. I don’t know what it was. Somethin’ in a bag.”

— Janet Coleman, Mingus / Mingus

HIGH STANDARDS, LOW NUMBERS

library+b&w

Back from Madrid with a roller-case bearing obscure books and 1 € Maghrebi CD-rs…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Khaled – Rai Arai (DJ SMS mix)

+

speaking of books…

A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read “The Lost Symbol”, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.

A World of Hits, The Economist

UZUMAKI

mangasalad uzumaki

mangasalad uzumaki

mangasalad uzumaki

post-SONAR, my mind continues being melted by Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, an incredible, meticulously imagined narrative in the form of a Japanese horror manga. “Spiral into horror.” (shout to Matt Madden for the tip)

.

I don’t usually remember my dreams. But for the last week, I’ve been dreaming – and remembering – horrible things: a friend stabbed to death, car accidents, waiting for police to arrive after something dreadful has occurred. Fair chance Ito is the source.

PUBLIC ALEXANDRIAS

alexandria library
[Alexandria Library, from WikimediaCommons]

My Own Private Alexandria. hours of listening, plus Paul Chan’s shapely metadata -

KEYWORDS: Philosophy, anti-philosophy, phalanx, food, build temporary buildings, difference between writing and idea, critics can go to hell, the coming future.

KEYWORDS: Art, thunder, noise against kids, hating kids, hating school, the awful effects of memory.

KEYWORDS: History of silent film, no such thing as silent film, shoot the piano player, fixing emotions, Benshi, love of Clara Bow, large faces, color as sex.

KEYWORDS: Cultural criticism, daily sense of history, New York Times as the most overrated newspaper on Earth, truth of our age in obituaries, institutions as sole grantor of legitimacy, progress as ideology.

+

Folk Music SMB is a nice site for… oudcentricity.
lots of middle eastern/arabic albums with scanned liner notes!, including Gnawa Diffusion’s Bab El Oued Kingston (which several folks emailed me about after I posted the Radioclit sample-source tune from it).

THE MAN FROM CORONEL PRINGLES

The real story, which we have grown unaccustomed to, is chemically free of explanation. . . . The story is always about something unexplainable. The art of narration declines as explanations are added. -Aira

aira

[César Aira]

back in Yanquistan! MuddUp now resumes its irregular service

big thanks for MuddUp reader Thraiped, who commented “I’m sort of obsessed with César Aira, Argentinian, ridiculously prolific… Most of his stuff is short – I recommend Como me Hice Monja (translated as How I Became a Nun) as a place to start.”

Thraiped’s obsession is now my own, Aira is amazing… and painfully undertranslated. Since this recommendation i’ve worked my way through El Pequeno Monje Buddhista, Las Noches de Flores, and Como Me Hice Monja. All great, surprising, and a fair amount unlike each other.

here’s a bit from this interview, in hasty muddy translation: “The meaning of the word ‘novel’ has expanded so much that it’s ideal in terms of freedom. It doesn’t occur to me to write anything else. I don’t like short story (as a form) because it depends too much on quality; if it’s not good, it doesn’t work. On the other hand, in the novel you can appreciate other things beside the author’s virtuosity, it’s a more relaxed form, let allows for changes of idea, regrets, asymmetries, sinous paths that I think adapt themselves better to my imagination.”

& an excerpt from a nice essay: “El vanguardista crea un procedimiento propio, un canon propio, un modo individual de recomenzar desde cero el trabajo del arte. Lo hace porque en su época, que es la nuestra, los procedimientos tradicionales se presentaron concluidos, ya hechos, y el trabajo del artista se desplazó de la creación de arte a la producción de obras, perdiendo algo que era esencial. Y esto no es ninguna novedad. San Agustín dijo que sólo Dios conoce el mundo, porque él lo hizo. Nosotros no, porque no lo hicimos. El arte entonces sería el intento de llegar al conocimiento a través de la construcción del objeto a conocer; ese objeto no es otro que el mundo. El mundo entendido como un lenguaje. No se trata entonces de conocer sino de actuar. Y creo que lo más sano de las vanguardias, de las que Cage es epítome, es devolver al primer plano la acción, no importa si parece frenética, lúdica, sin dirección, desinteresada de los resultados. Tiene que desinteresarse de los resultados, para seguir siendo acción. “

One has to be disinterested in the results to maintain the action.

Action! fire, gaitas, cumbia, interrupted silence:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto – Fuego de Cumbia

Los Gaiteros, folk but fierce, will play in Queens on August 2nd. $20/25 plus you have to go out to Queens (not easy from Brooklyn w/ no car)…