Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-06-08 - 5:48 p.m.

Z`

Its so warm in the office – only half the area has air conditioning and my workstation is in the wrong half. We have a scenario event tonight and then a large meeting to tomorrow with the industry advisory group. Hopefully all the pieces are in place – we shall see. This was always the worst bit of the timetable especially after we moved tonight’s event back to suit one of the customers. It is rather as Andrew describes life – project after project – which makes it too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Paul was encouraging in terms of the gnawing away at the remains of Ms Plath. I sent him an article which I see now was probably written in Detroit. The author Joyce Carole Oates lived there for most of the 60s and 70s before moving to Princeton. The article portrays the poet as end of the line for Romanticism – what the romantic sensibility becomes when complete subjectivity and solipsism take over. Its pretty convincing – neat also – you can find I at

http://www.usfca.edu/fac-staff/southerr/throes.html

and I recommend giving it a try as it is very clear even if you don’t actually agree with it.

I have a very handy sixth formers guide to Plath criticism – the fact that such a work exists at all is a sign of some moment. Bouncing back from JCO I was detained by some extracts from Jacqueline Rose’s The Haunting of SP – summarised: “Sylvia Plath has become a strange icon. This book addresses why this is the case and what this tells us about the way culture picks out "important" writers. The author argues that without a concept of fantasy we can understand neither Plath's work nor what she has come to represent. She proposes that no writer demonstrates more forcefully than Plath the importance of inner psychic life for the wider sexual and political world.”

This is a pretty good pitch – the culture picks up some figures and worries about their biography and debates their motives. This says something about the worriers and debaters as much as the lives debated. In the extract I read Rose seeks to argue that the famously controversial elements of the poems are taking poetry in new direction which renders the surfaces deceptively offensive. The offended interpretations are misplaced.

And so a game would be to run the interpretation backwards – ND songs are deceptively inoffensive – and perhaps the misplaced inoffensiveness sustains the ongoing wider interest via some convenient fallacious narrative of the life. (Apparently teachers often have to explain to students that SP wasn’t actually the child of a fascist father.)

I have been pushing away at the box music – using the classic Coltrane cycle :

B13 Emaj7 G13 Cmaj7 Eb13 – so slip onto the tonic (Dm) – sometimes more sometimes less eg Abmaj7 Emaj7 G13 – without a root so that is passes as a Dm. I haven’t recorded anything yet. Lots of experiments with different FX on the El-Maya which is getting to feel more comfortable but nothing recorded yet. Some forays on organ.

I listened to Cassandra Wilson this morning – someone else for whom the song is the thing.

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