Archive for the ‘Socratic Dialogue’ Category


My friend Lar introduced me to this ol’fella (he may have even sent me this CD, as I can’t imagine where I’d have found it on my own).

Ding Dong Denny is the alter ego of Paul Woodfull (who created the Joshua Trio a U2 tribute/pisspull).  And, as I know precious little else about the man, I’ll let the more enlightened pass along the details.

Publocked is a lowbrow amalgam of all kinds of Oirish nonsense.  It’s vulgar and crass and often quite funny.  (Some of the bits stand up to repeated listening–the songs more than the chatty bits, although the chatty bits are especially funny).

Take “The Ballad of Jayus Christ” which sounds like a pretty standard simple ballad until you realize what he’s singing:  “Jaysus O Jaysus As cool as bleeding ice…It’s funny you never rode, coz its you I do my shouting for each time I shoot me load.”

But it’s not all blasphemy.  The “single” “Flow River Flow” is a very sensitive track about the benefits and majesty of the sacred waters (with tin whistles and everything): “When I was just a young man, I sit on the river bank  I loved your gentle water so much I’d have a wank”  With the glorious swelling chorus: “Flow river flow, fuck off to the sea, go where you are wanted, to the deserts of Gobi”

True, now, that’s all kind of crass.  But Ding Dong takes a political stance, too. Take “Spit at the Brits.”  “We Spit at the Brits an we showered’em in a lovely shade of green…we spit at the brits, and then they blew us all to smithereens.”

And what Irishman could ignore the Famine.   “The Potatoes Aren’t Looking the Best” is a view of the famine through the eyes of a farmer.  Shite.

Not everything is a winner, “I Get A Round” is a “cover” of “I Get Around.”   The lyrics are changed to reflect being in a pub (get it?).  And “My Heart Gets So Full (You’d Swear I Had Tits)” is pretty funny, especially since it’s played as an oh so serious ballad, but there’s not much in the world that’s funny for 7 minutes.

So, yes, it’s not quite Joyce, but then Joyce does talk about masturbating by the water, so it’s all equal, right?

[READ: Week of July 26, 2010] Ulysses: Episodes 7-9

Before I begin, I want to make sure that everyone has checked out Ulysses Seen.  It’s an illustrated rendition of the book.  The details are exquisite and you’ll no doubt pick up things that weren’t as apparent in the proper text.  The only bad thing I can say about it is that it’s not finished yet.  So far Robert Perry has only completed Episode One, and it sure looks like that took a long time (it’s really stunning); but between the details ion the drawing and the extensive reader’s guide that comes with it, one can perch there for quite a while.

I admit that this week’s slog through Ulysses was rather unpleasant for me.  The three episodes included here were massive doses of stream of consciousness.  I actually found them exhausting to read.  Not to mention, in terms of plot advancement, they’re rather paltry. (more…)

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17Many many years ago, I discovered Might magazine.  It was a funny, silly magazine that spoofed everything (but had a serious backbone, too).  (You can order back issues here).  And so, I subscribed around issue 13.  When the magazine folded (with issue 16–and you can read a little bit about that in the intro to Shiny Adidas Track Suits) it somehow morphed into McSweeney‘s, and much of the creative team behind Might went with them.

The early volumes (1-5 are reviewed in these pages, and the rest will come one of these days) are a more literary enterprise than Might was.  There’s still a lot of the same humor (and a lot of silliness), but there are also lengthy non-fiction pieces.  The big difference is that McSweeney’s was bound as a softcover book rather than as a magazine. And, I guess technically it is called Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern as opposed to Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. (more…)

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hootThis is the second full length from The Replacements.  For a band that just released two punk albums (one’s an EP), naming your new one Hootenanny is pretty ballsy.  As is the fact that the first track sounds like, well, a hootenanny (even if it is making fun of hootenannies.)

However, the rest of the album doesn’t sound like hootenannies at all.  In fact, the rest of the album is all over the place.  I don’t want to read into album covers too much, but the design has all 16 titles in separate boxes in different colors.  It suggests a little bit of stylistic diversity inside.

Just see for yourself:  “Run It” is a one minute blast of some of the punkiest stuff they’ve done. (It’s about running a red light).  Meanwhile, “Color Me Impressed” marks the second great alt-rock anthem (after “Go”) that Westerberg has put on record.  “Willpower” is a sort of spooky ambient meandering piece that, at over 4 minutes is their longest piece yet.  “Take Me to The Hospital” is a punky/sloppy guitar song.  “Mr Whirly” is sort of an update of the Beatles’ “Oh Darlin.'”  “Within Your Reach” is technically the longest Replacements song to date.  It starts with a cool flangy guitar sound that swirls around a fairly mellow vocal track (this song was featured in the end of Say Anything.  John Cusack cranks the song up past the red line).  “Buck Hill” is an (almost) instrumental.  “Lovelines” is a spoken word reading of personals ads over a bluesy backing track.  “You Lose” is the first song that sounds like another one…a sort of hardcore song.  “Hayday” is a fast rocker like their first album.  And it ends with “Treatment Bound” a sloppy acoustic number that sounds like it was recorded in a tin can.

As you can see, this album is all over the place, and almost every song sounds like they may not make it through to the end.  Yet, despite all of the genres represented, the band sounds cohesive.  The disc just sounds like a band playing all the kinds of music that they like, and the fact that there are a couple of really lasting songs on the disc makes it sound like more than just a bar band.

I feel as though not too many people even know of this disc (it was the last one I bought by them, as I couldn’t find it for the longest time).  But in reading reviews, I see that people seem to really love this disc.  I enjoyed it, and, like other ‘Mats discs, it’s certainly fun, but I don’t listen to it all that often.

[READ: June 9, 2009] McSweeney’s #31

The latest issue of McSweeney’s has a totally new concept (for this journal, anyhow):  They resurrect old, defunct writing styles and ask contemporary writers to try their hands at them. I had heard of only two of these defunct styles, so it was interesting to see how many forms of writing there were that had, more or less, disappeared.

Physically, the issue looks like a high school yearbook.  It’s that same shape, with the gilded cover and the name of the (school) on the spine.

Attached to the inside back cover is McSweeney’s Summertime Sampler. As far as I know this is the first time they have included a sampler of multiple upcoming works.  There are three books sampled in the booklet: Bill Cotter’s Fever Chart; Jessica Anthony’s The Convalescent & James Hannaham’s God Says No. I enjoyed all three of the pieces.  Fever Chart has stayed with me the most so far.  I can still feel how cold that apartment was.  The Convalescent begin a little slow, but I was hooked by the end of the excerpt. And God Says No has me very uncomfortable; I’m looking forward to finishing that one.

As for #31 itself:

The Fugitive Genres Recaptured (or Old Forms Unearthed) include: pantoums, biji, whore dialogues, Graustarkian romances, nivolas, senryū, Socratic dialogues, consuetudinaries, and legendary sagas.  Each genre has an excerpt of an original writing in that style.  Following the sample is the modern take on it.  And, in the margins are notes in red giving context for what the author is doing.  I assume these notes are written by the author of the piece, but it doesn’t say.

I’m going to give a brief synopsis of the genre, but I’m not going to critique either the old piece or whether the new piece fits into the genre exactly (suffice it to say that they all do their job very well). (more…)

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