Notes on Pullman Conversation

Just rough notes – wanted to dig out Philip Pullman’s Jesus vs Christ references.

Meaning of Life ? Meaning is about connections – to refer to, to call to mind … , and for humans this is about purpose – main purpose is increasing consciousness because we humans are fortunate to be the most advanced self-reflective conscious beings we know about – hence Humanism.

Stories and hence story-tellers are important part of our consciousness and increasing it. Parental respect, authority & guidance. Not so much identify with, but would like to befriend as ourselves. Morals in stories, not explicit, but by association with the characters, thoughts and actions. Real life fiction so much better than the fantastic – the effort in fantasy reduces the subtlety of morality tales possible – hence simplistic good-guy / bad-guy morals only – compare Voyage to Arcturus David Lindsay with “feeble / piffle” Lord of the Rings (and “detestable, stupendous wicked waste” Narnia) and set the tone to blame for a lot of imitation. (Tolkien catholic vs Lewis protestant.) George Eliot.

Pullman’s latest The Good Man Jesus, and the Scoundrel, Christ. (Must obtain & read.) Enough reality in Jesus, in how the key parables and phrases and lessons were reported – someone creative created them – and contrast in how reported in the gospels – adds to core of truth and mystical / mythical aspects thereof. Story telling. Much of bible is trash, but everyone should read the gospels.

And … Joe Campbell Hero with a Thousand Faces – “influential” but “Jungian”.
And … Proust hard but worth it. Kafka of course.

More Big Science Media Crap

“What might have been ….
the biggest physics story of the past century
…. may instead be down to a faulty connection.”

When the idiots get their minds out of the interminable God vs Science wars, will they notice the state science is in these days. Maybe they do and the war is just flak to disguise the true state. But more likely more cock-up than conspiracy – business as usual.

Handsome Dick

My only knowledge of Richard “Handsome Dick Manitoba” Blum was as lead singer with New York proto-punks The Dictators (I have their Manifest Destiny album).

The death today of  MC5 bassist Michael Davis led me to notice Dick had also been singer with MC5 at some point, and that Dick is the owner of Jack Dempsey’s bar (now Manitoba’s) in Manhattan, and The Manitoba’s open for Guns & Roses in NYC tomorrow night … etc etc … anyway amazing collection of snaps of Dick with everyone UK and US punk and new wave from Kinks and NY Dolls, right up to a recent John Lydon (Bowie, Iggy, Ramones, Debbie Harry, Billy Bragg, … ). Dictators were the final act at CBGB’s too. Ongoing link with The Buzzcocks doing UK gigs with extended line up including Howard Devoto in May this year … And on Stevie van Zandt’s Underground Garage radio station:

“Best Satellite Radio DJ” by The Village Voice.
Manitoba truly is Mr. Manhattan.
Hear him take on anything and everybody, every weeknight.

Credit Where Credit’s Due

Heard Julian Baggini in a debate on BBC R4 Sunday programme, discussing the recent militant secularism – the local council prayers and the latest baroness Warsi / Dawkins spat. I’ve previously always found Julian a little too non-committal, too wishy-washy, too willing to please …

But here he was taking a positive strong middle-ground stance against Dawkins and the militant secularists – yes recognising the positive values in tradition, even religious traditions a la Alain DeBotton – but pointing out the negative value of aggression in Dawkins cracked record agenda against all things religious. Simply having the agenda was damaging.

Other main point is that one’s fundamental beliefs can never be “left at the door” in politics, whatever the disestablishment relationship between religion and politics.

Good on yer Julian.

[Different angle from George Galloway.]

A Little Respect

Sylvia and I often reply that bread is our favourite food if asked. Often we’d have a whole fresh bloomer (with nothing else) for lunch on a Saturday – and of course when paying attention to carbohydrate intake, that can be a problem.

James Corden on BBC R4 Desert Island Discs, after losing 6 stones – referred to bread as his nemesis – it’s personal. Before going on to introduce Erasure’s “A Little Respect” – great tune and great song.

Devo Max – Jocko Homo

I could have posted this the instant it occurred to me yesterday – but now after BBC R4 Today playing a clip of Devo and interviewing Gerry Casale this morning #Devo is UK trending all over twitter this morning.

I’ve posted before how Devo’s first UK gig at the Roundhouse Sunday 30th April 1978 was part of my best ever day of live music. I have Devo on vinyl and replaced as MP3 in the last couple of years, since they became active again recently – playing them now of course. Put Akron, Ohio on the map (after car tyres, and before Chrissie Hynde, that is).

Anyway, what I was going to post was a suggestion on devolution – Yes, let’s have better local government arrangements, let’s get more federal – let’s redraw the Scottish border at (say) Watford Gap so more of us benefit – or maybe draw it around the M25 and leave London inside as the UK’s “Capital Territory”. (And incidentally, as a government politician, Salmond knocks spots off the current shambles in Westminster. Win-Win.)

Now that would be “Devo Max”?

Jocko Homo – Are we not men?

They tell us that we can’t go free,
To control our own destiny.
I say it’s all  hypocrisy.
Are we not Scots? We’re Devo Max.
Are we not Welsh? D-E-Vo Max.

Surreal that “Jocko” fits the context 34 years after the fact. Also intriguing that the originally degenerate de-evolution of “Devo” could become aligned with devolution – a reversal of civilisation’s trend to bigger global / corporate to smaller local / human arrangements. Maybe it’s not humans that are devo, but society – in a positive way. Weird that a rhyming political sound-bite can “create” what lay latent. I swear I’ve had this thought before, but never thought to write it.