Saturday, July 09, 2005


An eloquent Ian McEwan assesses the fallout from the London attacks.

(via Moorish Girl)


Life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel.

Hugh Walpole

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


William Gibson, who himself wrote his first novel Neuromancer on a typewriter, holds forth on W.S. Burroughs and the cutup aesthetic.

I knew that this "cut-up method," as Burroughs called it, was central to whatever it was he thought he was doing, and that he quite literally believed it to be akin to magic. When he wrote about his process, the hairs on my neck stood up, so palpable was the excitement. Experiments with audiotape inspired him in a similar vein: "God's little toy," his friend Brion Gysin called their reel-to-reel machine.

Sampling. Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all.

Some 20 years later, when our paths finally crossed, I asked Burroughs whether he was writing on a computer yet. "What would I want a computer for?" he asked, with evident distaste. "I have a typewriter."

Sunday, July 03, 2005


I think that one day in time and another aren't necessarily very different. In China we have a saying: “A day is as long as a year”. In fact a day might well be longer than a year, or a day could actually be a year.

Jia Zhang-Ke
Jia Zhang-Ke's Platform (2000) is a skewed take on modern China, never officially released in its home country. It's the strange, loose limbed tale of how the Fenyang Peasant Culture Group mutated into the All-Star Rock'n Break-Dance Electronic Band on the road to Outer Mongolia in the 1980s. Long takes force the viewer to experience the slow passage of time in sympathy with sad sack characters who seem more inspired by pop radio hits than the cult of Mao. His fly on the wall tableaus and subtle deadpan humor make him a filmmaker to watch. I'm looking forward to his new one, The World, which takes place in an real Epcot-like Chinese theme park. This differs from his earlier "underground" films in that it's partially state funded and government approved.