Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-09-11 - 6:38 a.m.

On Saturday night after the jazz I called in on Rob and Wendy who had just got back to Cambridge from their holiday in France. Their son, Lawrence, showed me his newly acquired Korg synth – an early 80s model with four oscillators – and some stuff that he had bought in the Cambridge FOPP – post-techno nastily surreal badboyart visuals - there’s an article on wikipedia under ‘rubber johnny’ – also a site at:
http://www.rubberjohnny.tv/

This reminded me that FOPP is always full of delights - as a surprise Nizlopi were playing the JCB song live in Leamington FOPP on Sunday lunchtime – a local promo for their new EP. I bought a documentary DVD about the evolution of techno in Detroit , a B52s singles collection, the Undertones live on BBC radio and a 2004 Patti Smith album at the usual low prices. The Detroit DVD has some good commentary about the uniqueness of the city – how it represents a future that the rest of the US cant get to grips with. Like everyone else who stumbles across PS’s Trampin, it came as a big big surprise with a very timely 12 minute song, Baghdad. PS lived in the Detroit suburbs in the 80s and I have Detroit remix of some B52 tracks but I cant think of a link with the Undertones.

Next I went round the corner to the local Waterstone bookshop where I bumped into Steve and his family each of whom had bought something to read for the Autumn. I told them about my unusual Saturday and it transpired that Steve’s father-in-law had gone to Corpus Christi. I ended up buying Sen’s book on Identity and Violence which the other Laurence is halfway through. Sen is famous for having disrupted Arrow’s theorem in welfare economics. I have been trying to understand this for about 30 years and still havent hacked it. I am doing better with the first few chapters of this book which is a sustained argument in terms of the over-use of fixed cultural identities at all levels.

I watched the 9/11 dramadoc on BBC2 but it didn’t especially hold my interest. Earlier in the day I had seen a religious programme which tackled some of the alternative 9/11 theories. I came across some research which showed the extent to which such alternative accounts are entertained by a large minority of US citizens especially younger ones. I also some read some of the debate about the buildings’ collapse. By coincidence I had been talking to Phil Davies about the way that engineering always has limits and its usually a surprise when we move outside those limits. The collapse illustrates this well and people are still trying to analyse and validate different theories of how it happened. I remember a long time ago Nick Totton talked about hyper-public events. These are events which everyone sees at some remove or other but which remain intrinsically mysterious – his example at that point was the Kennedy assassinations.

At one stage it was considered bad manners to think of the collapse as spectacle. Initially artists had been drawn to this view – Damien Hirst and Stockhausen for example – but they were smacked down. But more recently some analysts have begun to home in on the excessive use of the dramatic images from the day – this excessive use is part of the hyper-public mystery because it pushes the complex context into the background and works against understanding.

I see David Cameron is saying that he is a liberal conservative not a neo-conservative.

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