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Of late I have mostly been reading...

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  • I still serially acquire books, but rarely manage to read them through. Lots of pictures is good. Recents:



    Gravity's Engines by Caleb Scharf. Quite interesting rundown of the modern picture of black holes and how they interact with matter to drive the formation of large-scale structure in the universe.



    Wall Hangings Of Today by Vera Sherman. Ace pictures of 1970s textile art.



    The World Encyclopedia Of Naive Art. Vast and mighty tome illustrating naive art from around the globe.



    Currently working my way through The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future by Andrew Pickering. This focuses on British cybernetics guys (Walter Grey, Ross Ashby, RD Laing, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask) and their stuggles to define a 'non-modern ontology'. Despite the abstruse and technical nature of some of this (words like 'hylozoism' are regularly invoked) there is plenty of interest here for me. Currently reading about Stafford Beer whose writings have always proved elusive, fascinating to read about his attempts to govern the operation of a steelworks via a garden pond, cyberneticize the economy of Chile circa 1972, etc. etc. Looking forward to reading about Gordon Pask who seems to possibly be the most wide-ranging thinker and doer of them all: I have long had a copy of his 'The Cybernetics of Human Learning and Performance' which is WAY too dense to get through, so even a semi-digestible version of his career will be most welcome.

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    • Originally posted by Sonovox View Post
      Currently reading about Stafford Beer whose writings have always proved elusive, fascinating to read about his attempts to govern the operation of a steelworks via a garden pond, cyberneticize the economy of Chile circa 1972, etc. etc.
      as a student in Liverpool, my wife helped Stafford Beer catalogue/ archive his life. true fact, that is. not a recent fact, to be fair, but she may have something kicking around the house... i'll ask...

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      • This was the best book I read last year although Brautigan can occasionally make me squirm with his leering misogyny.

        http://www.matpringle.co.uk

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        • Originally posted by alanmck View Post
          as a student in Liverpool, my wife helped Stafford Beer catalogue/ archive his life. true fact, that is. not a recent fact, to be fair, but she may have something kicking around the house... i'll ask...
          Wowzee, sounds like a fascinating job! Just checking out the online catalogues and materials for the Stafford Beer Collection at LJMU now... Looks like they have all his gramophone records stashed away in the collection too...

          I think he referred to the books he wrote as "20 pints of beer". But I've only ever had a shandy's worth.

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          • Just finished reading Viv Albertine's book, finally, after starting in the summer, leaving it on a train bound for Brighton, as I alighted at Gatwick Airport. Muyst say I'm blown away by it, especially the chapters about her trying for a baby. Not that the Slits and punk stuff isn't fascinating, but her yearning for a baby is so well written and so powerful. I'm full of admiration for her writing after this.
            http://www.djhistory.com

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            • Originally posted by Mr Naga View Post
              It just gets bleaker and bleaker. If you liked Cannery Row try Sweet Thursday which follows on from CR with the same characters. Also Tortilla Flats is worth a read.
              Thanks - they're on my list


              North of the River Cole

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              • Originally posted by eine View Post
                Last year I went weeeell out of my comfort zone performings excerpts of A Fiery Flying Roll by Abiezer Coppe alongside a noise artist who manipulated by voice. I've recorded it but can't yet bear to listen to it...
                Give it out free as a flexidisc with the next edition of The British Esperantist...

                some times play g+ with back noise,some times vg , super psyché juju lpfront sleeve is very nice vg back vg , but the top corne left is eating buy rats, ask for picture

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                • That Cybernetic Brain book looks lush, Sonovox.

                  Originally posted by medlar View Post
                  Give it out free as a flexidisc with the next edition of The British Esperantist...

                  If flexidiscs were made at flexidisc prices, every issue of the British Esperantist would come with one. Me on one side narrating 17th century English ranters, Gingham Kitchen's senistive, contemporary crooning on the other.
                  Spirit Duplicator—collectable, charming, affordable... and also socially networked on FB / Twitter / Instagram.

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                  • Originally posted by eine View Post
                    That Cybernetic Brain book looks lush, Sonovox.



                    If flexidiscs were made at flexidisc prices, every issue of the British Esperantist would come with one. Me on one side narrating 17th century English ranters, Gingham Kitchen's senistive, contemporary crooning on the other.
                    Now I've bathed in the awesome laxative power of the pyramids I feel renewed
                    Who knew that Mr Kitchen had such a soothing voice? Like a young David Attenborough
                    "Record collecting is no mere hobby, no innocuous leisurely diversion. It is a feverish passion bordering on dementia, driving those under the influence to irrational, compulsive, fanatical extremes."

                    Night of the Living Vinyl

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                    • Spent the weekend reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare".

                      I'd been interested after having visited Camodia a few years ago but had somehow not got round to reading it. Perhaps not as depressing as I feared, it isn't focussed on individual survivor's testimony but on a fairly even handed account of how Cambodia's nightmare in the 70s came about. It's focus is on the Khmer Rouge and the various political developments that brought about their regime. It doesn't single out any one cause, there's plenty of interference by foreign powers, venal corrupt local politicians and cultural factors in play. In many ways the saddest aspect is how much us down to sheer incompetence. Pol was a mediocre student who preferred reading poetry to Marx as that was too hard, he seems to have been promoted as much through luck as anything. On the other hand his paranoid purges, obssesion with discipline and secrecy both exacerbated the incompetence and incoherence of the regime and its cruelty. Though what is frightening is that regime was maybe less unique and unprecedented than you might hope.
                      Enthusiastic vagueness passes for scholarship in the twilight world of the disc-jockey.

                      John Peel

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                      • Not entirely sure how the film will work but I'm enjoying it immensely.

                        http://www.matpringle.co.uk

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                        • Originally posted by emperor tomato ketchup View Post
                          Spent the weekend reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare".
                          Blimey. Tough stuff. I read a book about atrocity in Sierra Leone once and it's still with me.

                          As to Pynchon, I couldn't get on with Inherent Vice and passed it on. Same story with Against The Day. Got to a certain point and then got worn out and bored. Haven't bothered with Bleeding Edge. Perhaps I've lost my attention span? Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon and Crying Of Lot 49 are still untouchable though.
                          Spirit Duplicator—collectable, charming, affordable... and also socially networked on FB / Twitter / Instagram.

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                          • The woman on the cover is Victoria Domalgoski who did a couple of folk albums in the early 70's. I only know as I came across her debut last year and read about her association with Brautigan. Wasn't too enamoured with the first album as her voice is a bit of an acquired taste although the second apparently features Herbie Hancock doing some session work. No one seems to know what became of her.

                            Originally posted by Mr Naga View Post
                            This was the best book I read last year although Brautigan can occasionally make me squirm with his leering misogyny.

                            Mixes, Music: https://www.mixcloud.com/amitron_7/

                            Music: https://blackmoofou.bandcamp.com/

                            Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL1...bw92ZSjvLMZKlQ

                            Latest Infant Project: https://soundcloud.com/bcmf

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                            • A couple of thoughts on some above stuff;

                              Steinbeck: 'The Grapes Of Wrath' is by no means an 'enjoyable' read, but by crikey it's darned powerful. I last (re)read it around 2008 when the current recession was kicking in and was struck by a) the way he masterfully demonstrates complex economic concepts through a (largely) unsentimental narrative, and b) the completely 'modern' way the story is presented - the little interludes featuring the incidental characters are a stroke of genius - these imbue a mere novel with a sense of true journalism - definitely an essential read. Must re-read 'Cannery Row' and a few others too. Once took a Greyhound bus through the Salinas Valley and it was like the man was sitting next to me...when the bus stopped for a driver change in King City, I looked up the dusty street and fully expected to find that flophouse just around the corner....

                              Pynchon: It's a strange one this. When I first picked up 'The Crying Of Lot 49' I was compelled to read the whole thing cover to cover over one sleepless night. My next one was 'V' which took me several attempts over 15 years to get through. Just before Christmas I came to a stop on my first attempt at 'Gravity's Rainbow' and if I don't resume it soon, I'll have to start again...strange because I know I'm going to end up as flummoxed as I was by the others and yet there's this compulsion to persevere with them isn't there? Why is this?....
                              you can hear colours when they rhyme...

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                              • Originally posted by ladyboygrimsby View Post
                                Just finished reading Viv Albertine's book, finally, after starting in the summer, leaving it on a train bound for Brighton, as I alighted at Gatwick Airport. Muyst say I'm blown away by it, especially the chapters about her trying for a baby. Not that the Slits and punk stuff isn't fascinating, but her yearning for a baby is so well written and so powerful. I'm full of admiration for her writing after this.
                                One for the list.

                                I'm reading the first volume of Danny Baker's autobiography. I like him anyway, I find him a strangely attractive personality and his writing style is, as you would expect, entertaining, forthright and unapologetically upbeat.
                                Back and to the left... back and to the left... back and to the left

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