Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-05-25 - 6:23 a.m.

The Drake promo-fest was quite extraordinary – on the Today programme as I got into the car. On the R2 Album Chart programme as I got into the car to drive home. Lots of PtB newsgroup activity. Magic in the singles chart at No 32. A story going round about a follow-up family album. Andrew’s observation about harmony is by far the best thing I’ve read so far. Gabrielle was interestingly harsh on Nick’s cavalier attitude to Island’s support – almost to the point of saying he was engineer of his own difficulties She tends to play up the quirkiness and play down the artistic sensibility. She is quite a dominant voice in shaping the contemporary discourse. Dominant generally.

There is at least one other song - the one that Beth Orton planned to do at the premier of A Skin Too Few in Amsterdam. I heard her do it at the rehearsal in the afternoon but the lyric mysteriously disappeared for the performance so it didnt happen. Paul mailed about whether Nick had a Martin in 69 - apparently the serial no on B Wells' Martin suggests it is 1973.

Today is the day for a long overdue haircut – can this be the cause of me waking so early?

The client rang up yesterday and we had quite a long chat about the shape of the process we are just starting to move through. We have a Strategy Day this Saturday at Lincoln College Oxford – and I have been invited to a seminar at Pembroke in a month’s time. The last time I spent any length of time in Oxford was when we were touring with Jon Cole in the Footlights band.

Susan Sonntag has provoked a debate about the culture-structures that have made the torture pictures possible. See the News pages under the Music for the Highveld button at the top of the page.

Laurence rang – we talked a bit about yesterday’s page and whether it was a fair reflection – we decided we might meet on Wednesday evening. He has bought a short book about Wittgenstein by P M S Blacker who I vaguely remember may have tried to teach me Leibniz. This made me recall a little about the way they made you read the Investigations from cover to cover when you arrived – as a kind of destabilising experience I think. It helped you learn most of it off by heart so there are great chunks that are familiar as text even if the import remains controversial. We even talked a bit about pain-behaviour and its extension into language.

The risk is that one sees that picture as dominant – say – in talking about desire.

You could say that erection behaviour is part of the logic of desire or maybe part of the rhetoric of desire but that doesn’t explain the emotions that go with the expectation that one’s lover “on the street where she lives might any second suddenly appear – pavement no longer beneath one’s feet etc”. To give him his due W does consider the agitation of expect someone for tea at four.

Actually its an interesting question for behaviourists – is an erection behaviour at all? Compare and contrast with rat learning a maze. What might one learn about the erectile propensity? Where might electric shocks feature? Can something be misbehaviour while not really being behaviour? For it to be misbehaviour does it need to slot into some broader narrative structure? Can a cough be a mistake or is the mistake not going to the doctor to get some medicine?

Would the mistake be attaching the electrodes? So an erection might be part of a different narrative – of terror rather than desire. What behaviour goes with expecting electrodes at four?

If we talking about about pain – and the linguistic dimension of pain behaviour – then the stories people tell to stop the pain might also just be behaviour rather than information – a kind of wincing.

If you want to destabilise people why not insist they read the Investigations?

Norman Macolm famously said that dreams are the propensity to tell stories when we wake up. Confessions are the propensity to tell stories in the middle of a nightmare.

We also spoke about reading Continental philosophy. Laurence said he thought it helped to plough on regardless. I said that short commentaries suited me – this had worked with Heidegger and Hegel. Leibniz is harder in some ways – so bitty.

Someone in the philosophy class ended up in the Northern Ireland Office working for the Permanent Secretary. They were culvert bombed together in the early 197Os. Prior to that she was going out with some army officer. We used to joke about whether he ever played her his special tapes in intimate moments. To find the location of the bomb is one of the classic justifications. Justification must come to an end – this is what we do?

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