Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-08-30 - 6:45 p.m.

I listened to Shostakovich SQ8 on the way to work – his 7th symphony was played at the Proms last night and it made me think about the exceptional context that engendered the large number of initial performances of the symphony. In wartime it seems that everyone allows the association between the power of the music and the personal exigencies of the time – it’s an expected and legitimate comfort available to people in difficult circs.

There’s a bit of a question mark over Furtwangler of course which seems impossible to resolve although he used the argument in his own defence and got off. Perhaps the argument runs – no matter what the regime and no matter that the regime either cynically or authentically seeks to harness the power of the music to its own agenda – despite all this, there is something in the music that means that its ability to connect with common humanity absolves the performers and the composer. Ordinary people have a right to access artistic integrity.

I am not sure Mozart gets off that easily as a matter of fact – or indeed Jimi Hendrix. This is Clockwork Orange territory except that I have never ever cared that much about Alex’s predicament – but this could be because I rely on the film rather than the book.

I knocked out a chapter on niche manufacturing and skills/workforce development for my 2-tone tome. I found a good project that the US National Science Foundation are supporting on medical equipment manufacturing – one of the great global clusters that has also been decently researched – and an exemplar in terms of user-led innovation – a subject which was quite fashionable last year at MIT.

Also I hacked around a chapter that I got from the Fraunhofer Institute earlier in the year and slotted that into the 2-tone. You certainly have to hand it to the Germans in terms of strategic determination, overtaking the USA as the prime nation in terms of manufacturing exports a couple of years back . These people are not messing about, whereas here in the UK one could easily be forgiven etc etc.

Yet more Adorno – oh dear – including some stuff which queer J Butler published quite recently on the ethical implications of self-understanding – or the lack of it. Years ago I got dragged into a platform with Laurence which now looks as if it was barking up this particular tree – and so I mailed him the summary which I had stumbled across.

I have been sniffing round a nearby trunk with James esp in connection with his PhD on themes in Lennon & McCartney. The ‘production platform’concept is hovering here too – a difficult term because it has been so stretched and pulled around – not least by the Germans. At the end of the day people making records are networked with a specific evolving technology – eg the advent of reverb after WW2. The whole point about ANT theory is that at certain points we let the technology take over.

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