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January 26, 2003

Been in a flurry of

Been in a flurry of activity in the past couple of hours, as I've been developing my argument for my Norse essay. It's going well, and I think the essay will now be much less about defiance than about representation, the means and processes by which meaning is imposed - basically an examination of Norse poetics in terms of "the age of sagas" as a moment of flux, of a change-over of perspectives from conceptions of honour to the coheasion of society.

Before that was the less intense by incredibly gratifying visit to Leeds, buying food and more importantly meeting Sulin. We had a nice lunch and an okay conversation. Managed then to go to Sulin's halls (despite lugging around 20 kg of rice + sauces etc.) and "bridge" ourselves silly. Feel really bad for Sulin about the size of her room and the crampedness of her conditions, I'm sure she's reconciled herself to it and seems to be reasonably resigned to her position. But Sulin is incredibly sweet and fun and lovely to be with, and had a fantastic time playing bridge with the group that was there (Delwyn and Dion). I think I'll always miss living in B block with Sulin and Peishan and that bunch; the fact that it's gone forever as a place in time makes the loss all the more poignant. Will always regret not being better friends with Sulin. Saw William. William is such an incredibly handsome turtle.

I wish I had the time/inclination to completely and fully represent what happened during the Supergrass concert because I had a fantastic time, and think the band is music of a calibre that is incredibly effective and dramatic. I don't think I've quite understood about aura and presence as much as when I was there (because of course the presence, the aura is past, irretrievable), even if I've encountered it before. I suppose I was looking to Gaz most of the time if only because his voice is so incredible (at the moment it ranks with a poignancy on par with Jeff Buckley), but it must really have been the presence of the bassist and the drummer that bowled me over. The bassist just strikes me so much as a spiritual center when he sang the songs I assume he wrote and by the sheer ordinariness (seperate from the almost televised presence of Gaz) of his appearance and demeanour. The musicality of the group I can only imagine in relation to the tightness with which the drummer held them together and the fullness of his rhythmic ingenuity. Because of course despite how moving they can be Supergrass has always been a band concerned with the aesthetics of movement and the fundamental experience of rhythm - something so central to rock and roll, what Elvis Costello refers to as its origination in beat music. The primacy of this perspective on their work is nowhere clearer in the pleasure obtained from Gaz doing his turn as Elvis, "I'm a rock and roll singer in a rock and roll band". Whereas I always suspect Paul McCartney's melodicism in bass playing was an expression of his internal insincerities (however false that presentation is in describing fabulous muscianship), the rhythm section there infuses Supergrass' work with a kind of fullness of expression, a depth and preternatural affinity in feeling - something that transcends moments when Gaz is alone with the guitar, something that moves them beyond themselves with their instruments and is transmutated into the music itself.

Posted by subtitles at January 26, 2003 3:12 AM | Blogger Entries