Iain Cameron's Diary
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2007-02-04 - 8:02 a.m.
I saw the first gig of Courtney Pine’s current tour last night. If it comes your way, I ‘d recommend seeing it – he has a vision of what jazz in Britain can be right now and he has his crew deliver it very directly. I found this rather sorrowful, personally speaking.
The European project is developing – this week I wrote to Prague. The big step forward is an invitation to talk in Ljubjana in May – but this means that I have to have the thing written and suitably formatted by the end of this month – the formatting worries me more than anything. I have been writing furiously this week – using the US guru Deming as a springboard. At the moment I am wondering about a suitable conclusion which answers the question I posed myself, perhaps a little too recklessly at the end of 2006. Now at the end of the week I have got an invitation to Stuttgart on Tuesday week .
A performance of Henry V in Italian (with subtitles) at the RSC Stratford on Avian, Swan. Mrs C is at the ROH to see Carmen which will also have subtitles. Stratford is weird – I can see why I have never been to the theatre here in nearly five years living less than 5 miles away. It would be fun to walk up the canal though, to the point where it meets up with the Grand Union. The take on Henry V drew heavily on the techniques of Pina Bausch, quite abstract and minimalist and quite stunning. Compagnia Delbono are a must-see crew.
Earlier in the Oxfam shop round the corner from the flat I picked up a 1970 copy of a study of DHL in New Mexico for a fiver. Very promising so far – looking at how his thought unfolded in the wake of the FWW. According to this author it’s a kind of 20C romanticism, a desire to re-integrate the psyche by acknowledging its inescapably organic foundation. That rationality and science could be a problem to be surmounted is easy enough to entertain in the circs – that Europe has run out of steam, and that the emerging culture of the USA might be at best half suitable as a seedbed for the right way ahead. It’s a kind of anticipation of the Dialectics of Enlightenment and Minima Moralia, not least in the European marginalised aesthete hoping that if you go to the margin in the enlightened USA you might find something less uncongenial than what’s been left behind.
Lawrence had a brief friendship with B Russell in the years just prior to this trip. I am toying with the idea of a comparison between the way DHL and LW bounce off Russell say 1915-19. LW makes a beeline for the logical structure of any possible world – a structure which sets the limit to what can be said. And then like DHL he heads for the hills, well the fiords actually. What DHL tries to say is way beyond the limits set by LW – DHL is a secret Kantian who believes that we carry around apparatus which the artist can access uniquely and which she can utilise to reveal in ordinary things some higher truths. LW thinks there is indeed some apparatus floating between us and the world – but it isn’t a matter of truth – in fact that apparatus embraces truth and falsity and binds them together so tightly that you can’t really say anything about it. Whatever you say uses the apparatus and so it can never be the subject of what’s said – like seeing through spectacles and never taking them off.
DHL reaches down the 20th century in all sorts of ways – through his impact on Hux, the way he sets the agenda for Ted Hughes, the way he anticipates Deleuze. Talking of Deleuze, Simon Reynolds book on Trance Culture has arrived. That’s a nice question – how much of a connection can be found between DHL in New Mexico and trance tribalism. (I have been listening a lot to EYBTG remixes lately.)