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Oh sweet, sweet LJ, how I missed you when my internet access was cut off for all of about 20 hours.

It's frightening how dependent I am on it these days. I don't need to be online that much now but I need to know I can get online if I want to -- and when I can't it drives me crazy.

Had a lovely weekend all told, as I met fialka on Friday, breaking the two-pints rule with abandon. Alas, she did not want to see the stripping Yorkshire film, so I'll go today. I want to see it because it looks like cheesey fun.

I should really be doing things with the house but I so cannot be arsed. I've painted the living room and rigged up a coat rail using sisal rope and a circular piece of wood, which looks all right, I've shifted the rubbish from the front garden... is there any reason at all why I can't spend the day watching a cheesy film in Leicester Square, scoffing a pub lunch and then meandering back via Charing Cross Road? No, there is not. Dammit.

* * *

Back to work tomorrow. Proper work, as opposed to the Saturday job, though the Saturday job did inspire the icon.

* * *

A few articles that I found really interesting:

Novelist Henry Porter on the Hutton Inquiry. He doesn't really come to any conclusions, it's more an extended harrumph at the whole situation.

A long feature about September 11 from Esquire but reprinted in the Obs this week that almost made me cry on the train home on Saturday night. Luckily it was the 0.35 to Gidea Park, so people probably just thought that I was a maudlin drunk. This is one of the hardest reads I've ever encountered, but it's thought-provoking. I wouldn't even look at it if you're feeling raw, though.

An interesting article about sound and fury, acoustics and ghosts.

Do you think that there's such a thing as a bulletproof kink in music? Particular chord progressions or kinds of voice that will always, always get you, no matter whether the songs are sung by The Beatles or some hideous kiddiepop abomination?



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2003 06:13 am (UTC)
That! Icon!
:::gasping laughter:::

Er ... there, I think I have control now, so I can comment on that last question. I haven't read the article yes, but I think the answer is yes. I rarely cry, and it normally takes a lot to get me to that point. There are songs that will make me cry because there's some personal tie involved; "Butterfly Kisses" is one of those, because the first time my dad heard it, HE cried.

But there are other songs with no such ties that I cannot listen to in the car because they will invariably bring tears to my eyes. One such song is "Travelin' Soldier" by the Dixie Chicks. I'm fully convinced it's the harmonies and chord progressions that do it, because while I think the lyrics are good, they're just not personally affecting. I think I'd cry without the lyrics.
Sep. 8th, 2003 07:00 am (UTC)
Oh dear god. That is one funny icon. I just sat slack-jawed and watched it go.

Dear GOD that's funny, dude.
Sep. 8th, 2003 07:53 am (UTC)
Now I will hear that damned tune all day! (But it was worth the laugh.)

Re chord progression, some day in my copious free I would like to study music. I'm sure there's a name for those chord progressions, maybe it's a common trick to virtuosi of various stripes, but it gets me every time, not just in Puccini but in the sleaziest pop crap if it's done just right.
Sep. 8th, 2003 08:33 am (UTC)
I'm sure there's a name for those chord progressions, maybe it's a common trick to virtuosi of various stripes, but it gets me every time, not just in Puccini but in the sleaziest pop crap if it's done just right.

Yes, that's it exactly. There's a production 'factory' for songs in Sweden that wrote "Hit Me Baby One More Time" for Britney Spears and a number of other pop songs, and I often find that if there's a sleazy pop song I like, they wrote it. It's a production line but I am helpless before it, just as I once was helpless before the lure of the Big Mac after a night on the booze. It's the musical equivalent of fun but empty calories.

Also, I think that when Andrew Lloyd-Webber sold his soul to the devil, he got the Sekrit Kink Chord Progressions Handbook in exchange. That and a copy of Mendelsohn's greatest hits. There is no other explanation.
Sep. 8th, 2003 04:44 pm (UTC)
"That and a copy of Mendelsohn's greatest hits. There is no other explanation."

Yes, yes, "Elijah" in particular. I would add the expansive, often haunting, harmonies of Francis Poulenc, somehow shading together ennui, desperation, eroticism and hope all in one seamless palette. And there's a good bit of Copland's "The Tender Land" that always raises a lump in my throat, too.

Sep. 8th, 2003 08:11 am (UTC)
You are the Icon Queen! Fab-u-lous!!

That article is bone chilling. I honestly can say that I didn't realize how many people jumped. This due to the US media that edited that particular section of the day. Thank you for posting the link.
Sep. 8th, 2003 10:06 am (UTC)
I read the Esquire article.

I thought it had important things to say about the way we actually buried those people before they even hit the ground.

We had records of important human events in photographs before that, but this was buried as it happened as "too terrible" to look at. How is it more terrible than Robert Kennedy shot, or that little girl being napalmed? How is it more terrible than Tienamin (spelled wrong, I'm sure) Square?

People jumped from the Titanic, too. And we made a reinactment of that the most popular movie ever.

It's like we cheated them of being remembered or recognized as they did something both brave and hopeless - something that said something about them. I really think a hell of a lot of them probably jumped because they didn't want to a) die in the fire or b) go down as a prisoner of somebody else's agenda. American's are innately scrappy and there were most likely a lot of really pissed off fighters who jumped. I think those folks might even have been the most likely to jump - especially the ones who were gripping tablecloths or trying to make homemade parachutes. Yet we treat them like it was cowardly. We should avert our eyes from their shameful end. It SO WASN'T shameful. the search for the "Falling man" spells that out. How awful to have the possibility of being found or remembered and having everyone look away. I would want people to see and remember if I was ever pushed to something so extreme.

That isnt' being ghoulish. It's being a witness to an act of extremity and bravery.

If we insulate ourselves from things like that as "too terrible" to contemplate, it only lets more things like that happen in other places we're afraid to look.
Sep. 8th, 2003 10:18 am (UTC)
yes, i read it
It's like we cheated them of being remembered or recognized as they did something both brave and hopeless - something that said something about them.

Yup. The thing about that picture is the elegance of it, the fuck-you in his pose (even though I know the pose was unintentional). This guy was going out *his* way. Horrible and inspiring and heartbreaking and damn cool all at once. You can't look away.

(I also remember the photo that other woman mentioned, with all the office workers hanging out the window above the fire. To look at their faces the next morning and know that every single one of them was dead was just ... terrible.)

I can see why the photos aren't shown often. At the time, emotions were just too raw -- remember, much of the national media saw this happen live in their hometowns, as residents as well as professionals. Frankly, I don't mind the jumping photos not being shown that often -- frequent viewing would devalue them. I still get a shock every time I see that guy falling. That shock is necessary. To have people look at it and say, "oh, that falling guy. I have seen that picture a million times" would be worse, I think, than people not seeing it at all.

Sep. 8th, 2003 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: yes, i read it
I never saw that photo before today.

I consumed a lot of news around Sept. 11th. I saw one bit of footage on Fox before they pulled it, and that was it on the mention of people jumping. It was pretty effectively censored in the media.
Sep. 8th, 2003 11:49 am (UTC)
Re: yes, i read it
It was pretty effectively censored in the media.

Please. It's "respecting the sensibilities of our readers." ;)

That photo ran HUGE in the NYT the next day -- not out front but pretty large inside (same with the photo of the doomed workers, which was about a third of a page). I can't remember what the Post did.

There's a general aversion to showing the faces of (American) dead in the media -- rightfully so, I think -- and this picture was as close to identifiable as you could get. And I remember a sort of outcry at the time that something so graphic was shown.

It's a painful, painful picture. And really, that kind of emotion should be administered in small doses, or you become numb to it. IMO.

Anyway, there's a pile of stuff at the the 9/11 Digital Archive.

I am all about the not forgetting.
Sep. 8th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC)
Re: yes, i read it
I'm not sure that it's even censorship. It's almost as if it comes under the heading of "things we cannot bear to look at yet." After all, we are distant here and those pictures are not shown on our TV either.

I think that Tom Junod touches on this -- that everyone who has ever looked off the top of a skyscraper can imagine the nightmare of taking that decision to jump, but people project different reasonings onto it. Some think that it's a cowardly way out because they lost hope so they gave up, but some see it as a very human, defiant decision in that they wrested control back in a hopeless situation.

It's a painful, painful picture. And really, that kind of emotion should be administered in small doses, or you become numb to it. IMO.

Yes, of course, you're right. Where I work we apply a rule that you don't use pictures of graphic violence unless you use them at the front of the book or front of the foreign section. The reasoning is that unless the story is of that kind of significance to the world, you cheapen the images, make violent death a spectacle.

In this case, the enormity (in every sense of the word) of what happened means that these images should not be airbrushed out of history, just as long as they are not trotted out every third day.
Sep. 8th, 2003 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: yes, i read it
I can believe the NYT ran a lot of stuff. I didn't see it here in Chicago, but I get most of my news from the Web as I like to cherry pick a sampling of papers and viewpoints rather than subscribing to one.
Sep. 12th, 2003 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the Esquire article. Thoughtful and moving.

If you have a chance to find it, there's a three-hour documentary about the history of the WTC called "Center of the World", done by Ric Burns (brother of Ken Burns) as part of his many-part history of NYC. I watched much of it last night. It's slow at the beginning, all about politics and planning. But the section about September 11 is... brutal. There are extended sequences with people falling, jumping, climbing over each other to get air from the windows.

Wrenching images I never saw at the time of the attacks or after. Images in some way I wish I hadn't seen. What would I do, I'm forced to think. Would I jump?

I think that's the question each of us is asked when we see those pictures. Could that be me?

Is it suicide to choose how you die? When you know death is coming, is upon you now?

I don't know, I don't know.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )