Saturday, September 05, 2009
This Watchmen Bearbrick is 109 dollars and I can find no redeeming features in it. Is this the ultimate opposite of substance and meaning? Are fanboys the most materialistic people in the world? Because watches, cars, shoes, sofas and clothes have a reasonable function even if they are overly expensive. During the burning of around 800 comics/magazines/graphic novels,, I was pondering the redeeming features of all of them. A lot of them actually weren’t that bad,, the burning of them was mostly down to the principles of how and why they were created and what need there is for them when there are even better collected versions of the work. When you isolate those DC and Marvel events like Infinite Crisis and Secret Invasion,, they aren’t as bad as I usually make them out to be. There are even a few nice little moments scattered in them,, but the greater context is why I dislike them so much.
I think all of that stuff I burned must have cost me atleast £3000. I thrown in lots of those expensive Masterworks and DC Archives books because they are very badly conceived, executed and the “re-drawn masterworks” mini-scandal gave me extra justification. The remaining unwanted 400 or so comics I didn’t burn cost me atleast £1500,, including a lot of very well executed Kirby reprints, Warren and Charlton comics. My friend Paul is going to get a small chunk of these.
I’m trying to find virtues and value in things I’m normally opposed to. To be militantly fair and reasonable. Militant usually doesn’t sound good, but who ever says “I hate that guy, he’s just far too reasonable”? So I’m rethinking a lot of things,, especially cosmetic surgery,, which I’ve always had a strong dislike for,, but I’m finding little difficult spots to attend to, mostly in the more understandable transgender situations.
I don’t understand how a lot of people are perfectly comfortable knowing they are a hypocrite,, surely everyone has to sort everything out till it all makes the best sense they can make of everything.
One area I’m always thinking of is genre and style prejudices,, which is not nearly as serious as racism or anything like that,, but I think it probably contributes a lot more than usually thought. A tolerance for someone else’s tastes surely has something to do with tolerance of other cultures in general? I’m sure intolerance of genres and styles all builds up into something nasty. I’d like to disconnect myself completely from the negative and cynical attitude that surrounds me but seems to be inescapable. I’d like to lose my ability to say “he’s an asshole” or “that is shit”,, and lose my ability to recognise dirty innuendos or to judge harshly or to grumble.
One thing that constantly comes up is people who build up this frustration and hatred for other peoples music,, but they could easily slip into enjoying it if they let themselves. The argument I dislike the most is when people say “the singer has an annoying voice”,,, but I don’t think you can be reasonable and use that argument. It’s always just an easy ticket to be dismissive so you don’t have to open your mind and challenge yourself. I have used that argument several times and of course I have to take it all back now. I used to dismiss Sham 69 because the singer sounded exactly like a comedy sketch character of an angry teenager I used to watch,, but you really cant blame the singer for that.
I think about 70% of the most beautiful creations in the world are things I used to find annoying, repulsive or some other discomfort. I have found a goldmine of amazing vocalists that used to make me annoyed or uncomfortable. You have to get past that discomfort to really judge these things properly. Heaven knows I’d be an extremely poorer man if I didn’t get past the “annoyed” stage. I think a lot of people are afraid they will like these bands but wont be able to justify it to their sneering friends.
I remember times when people would do a mocking impression of a singer to “prove” they were a bad singer,, but you could do that easily enough with Dylan, Springsteen and The Beatles, but it would be childish and unconvincing. Today I have less problems with voices and the discomfort period is usually extremely short,, actually disappointingly short for me,, so I actively seek bands with “annoying” voices because the reward is always sweeter for the longer friction between annoyance and pleasure. IQ were great for an extended period of friction where I felt “I don’t know if I like this” and I wish I could experience that friction and discovery all over again.
Here is where the topic of annoying voices leads to... Mr Doctor’s DEVIL DOLL!!!
Mr Doctor is clearly the best looking man in music((Stephen Malkmus coming second)),, and his voice is where most people cant appreciate Devil Doll, their albums are like movies with a story acted out with classical, prog, metal, Slovenian folk and the many voices of Mr Doctor. His voice moves, changes shape and strains like the way a German Expressionist actor might use his body. The only similar vocalist I can think of is David Tibet of Current 93. I’ve read a great deal of people saying “I cant take this seriously, it’s way too silly” and others complain that the music is not scary,,,, they are mistaken in believing this horror themed music is supposed to scare.
It might sound like I’m complaining that everyone should like the things I like,, it’s more that I sense they are making sure there is no possibility they will enjoy this,,, with their defences and tribal prejudices guarding their ears.
I bought Sacrilegium a month ago and last week I bought the rest of their albums in one go,, one of those bands that makes you eat up their work as quickly as possible just in case the world explodes in a month or two. Ebay is the only place you will find them at reasonable prices and I think Mr Doctor might be against having their music on places like iTunes and I doubt they are on Spottify. Youtube has most of their albums, but since their songs tend to be single very long pieces in a movie-like structure, they will suffer from being cut up into small youtube videos. But here is a piece from Sacrilegium I selected because of the beautiful part towards the end of this clip...
Devil Doll is very much against reason dominating an artist, but my pusuit of militant reason does not bleed into my art. Mr Doctor sounded very reasonable himself in interviews, but I assume his stance is that too much logic and too much control can ruin art. He has written books about music and I’d be very happy if he released a book he planned about 1000 pieces of music pieces capable of inspiring fear in the listener.
If any of this sounded interesting to you, I’d encourage you to read more about them, because they are a truly bizarre band,, but that comes with the frustrations a fan can have with enigmatic artists,,, there is only one copy of their first album((guess who owns it))) and Mr Doctor says he has not been interested in releasing the songs for public consumption that they have been making since 1996 when their last album came out. I hope he changes his mind eventually,, because Sacrilegium really inspired me and opened some doors for me creatively.
I’ve been meaning for months to talk about what point there is in letting other people see your art,, and it has nothing to do with vanity. I bragged last year that I might lose interest in showing people my art, although I seriously considered maybe that was a healthy option,, I was mostly full of shit when I said that. I’ll always want to show people my work forever,, because I know that it can inspire people who might eventually inspire me back and multiple other artists,, so it’s like a big orgy of lots of artists making each other feel amazing. Where the hell would I be if I had never seen and heard my favourite artists? I wouldn’t be as good as I am,, and I think that sometimes you need to see other people to find yourself. I think that when I get better,, my art could have the power to help people find themselves artistically and maybe even have a more positive and wide-eyed view of life in general.
So Mr Doctor,, if you happen to Google yourself and read this,, and if that whole book of fan letters did not work... PLEASE release more albums, you would be inspiring more people and helping create a slightly but significantly better world. One great song has the power to push thousands of people in the right direction. We need more.