28 November 2011

Monday morning frost

The weather in Milton Keynes calls for the XX to be played on repeat until further notice. The winter in Milton Keynes encourages hibernation, and I fight it through Christmas, but come January, I will give in and allow myself the selfish pleasure of depression. Depression is a metaphor. I find it harder to be depressed the older I get. I'm becoming a better pair of headphones, more balanced, representing reality better without the high highs and high lows. I'm a more balanced EQ.

I read the reviews for the earbuds I have, by the way (skip this paragraph if you're uninterested in talk of headphones). And they accurately describe all the problems I have had with them. Don't isolate, fall out of your ears, represent bass well, but need to be turned up to do so. Aren't great for walking or running. Aren't worth the cost. They are, however, Bose earbuds.

I read the news about Black Friday, all the people crawling all over each other trying to get cheap things, and after having my moment of liberal elite reflection about Capitalism, the underclass, and all the problems in the world, I remembered fondly a particular time in my life when my brother and sister and I were a bit older and would shop over the holidays with my mother. We would go to Hawthorne Center, the more upscale mall in the area, and get lunch and coffee and walk around. There was so little to worry about: I didn't have to drive, I didn't have to pay for anything, I bought gifts for like three or four people, I ate what I wanted, and that was it. This is nostalgia, I thought.

Jay-Z made a good comment about hip hop in an interview I recently heard on Fresh Air on NPR. When you listen to hip hop, you need to remember that the rapper got popular when they were relatively young, Jay-Z reminds us. They get popular and don't have normal relationships anymore, so when they rap about relationships, about women, about violence, about sex, they are rapping about adolescent fantasy. How many thirty year old rappers are there? Tyler the Creator is suddenly all over, everywhere, and his normal experience as a person ostensibly ended before he turned 20. Everything from here on out will be reliving what he did when he was in his teens and the imaginary world that has been constructed around him. And there is no incentive to change what he raps about: it's about money now. Biggie was 24 when he died. 24. Tupac was 25. You hear Biggie rapping about having kids and hustling to support them and you gotta remember he was like 20. Something to think about, at least.

Another thing that my PhD has ruined/enhanced: everything that comes through my brain must go through the analytic sieve. What would Foucault say. What would Bakhtin say. How does this one instance, this tiny stability, fit into a larger system. Where is the larger system coming from, where is it going.

Boy, do I like the new Florence and the Machine album. It's the delay on the tom-toms in a couple of the songs. The first one in particular. Another good album that needs to have a balanced EQ to be fully enjoyed, I imagine.

Don't think, please, that I can't shut my eyes and let it wash over me. Awareness of the metaphor heightens it: it does not diminish it.