the view from the tower

arcite's day

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Where does the word ‘nerd’ come form?

I’ve Finished the long poem ‘Moonshot’: very satisfied with it.

I’ve been told by the head of faculty that The Final Academy want to offer me a job teaching English and Soc. Studies & Tourism. Not that I really want to teach the latter subjects but I really like the school (which is about 95% Maori/Polynesian). And we really need the money. And I like the staff I’ve been working with here. It’s a very pleasant work environment even if we do deal with some difficult kids. Had a good chat with the principal—they’ve advertised the job but everyone seems to like my teaching here and how I fit in so I’m pretty optimistic.

‘Mimi’ (Maori: ‘pee) has two very short ‘i’s and must never be pronounced meemee).

We’re gearing up for an election here and it looks like it’s going to be a stinking campaign based a lot around race.

This applies to a bitter dispute over access and ownership of certain parts of our coastline. But the basic message of the ad is clear: members of an iwi ('tribe') aren't kiwis. So I guess Maori aren't kiwis. Uplifting, eh?
As I write this I’m watched the old music show ‘Flashbacks’ on Channel 4. I had no idea that ‘Mad World’ was a ‘Tears for Fears’ song. Then flashies played ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Split Enz (1976).

...arcite at Wednesday, June 29, 2005...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I’ve just been off to the PO to send off some more music and I realise now that I forgot to note ‘love my way’ on the track listing.

Driving to school yesterday morning, I heard Bolero again on concert FM. Am I alone in finding this piece of music tedious? It’s all about volume. You can make your own Bolero at home, just take a monotonous piece of music with very little progression (Phillip Glass is good). Start the CD with the sound turned right down. Very slowly increase the volume until your CD is blaring. Voilá, Bolero.

& I have this lyric from The Happy Monday's 'fat lady wrestlers' stuck in my head like a childhood memory: "I just got back from a year in the sack..." Coz Word-girl has been playing the Happy Mondays all week.

...arcite at Saturday, June 25, 2005...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Both Wulfraed & Word-girl have entered a short story competition, so let's see. I'm working on a long poem but have stalled for the last week or so as I bashed out a review. I'll get more done this weekend now I have less schoolwork.

I wonder if The Final Academy will offer me a job. I gave a young teacher a ride back into town on Wednesday and she told me she was leaving to return to the UK so a job would be coming up. She teaches English, Social Studies and Tourism. I have no knowledge of tourism and dislike the soc. studies curriculum, so let's see.

Here's another great Scritti cover:

The CD as book.

(I always thought that Absolute was a Hegelian love song: "Absolute a principal/to make your heart invincible.")

...arcite at Friday, June 24, 2005...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I’ve finished another review after a long day at school. I’m getting very strong teaching evaluations—all great for getting a job although I’ve been working around the clock & through the weekend. It’s a quiet day tomorrow so I’m drinking beer on a school night. Cheers...

Roishan keeps using ‘gay’ to mean ‘dumb, stupid’ especially in the (NZ?) expression ‘that’s a really gay idea.’ I told him that I don’t like him to use ‘gay’ that way.

This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve had to think about my response to this very common use of the word ‘gay’. I’ve decided that I find the phrase objectionable—and I’m not one easily offended, in fact I think being too precious about language can be counter-productive.

(This reminds me that I should one day explain how my views on art, the sacred and individual expression have changed in the last couple of years. What’s a blog if not for idle thoughts?)

I can’t argue, as some do at Teachers College when this has popped up in conversation and I’ve stayed quiet, over the ‘correct’ meaning of ‘gay’ and claim that to say ‘gay’ for ‘dumb or stupid’ is to misuse the word. I don’t think that this constitutes misuse as the word has been appropriated by kids and given their own ‘in group’ meaning. Ludwig, yer know and all that ‘language is use’ jazz. Well, he was on to something.

I can and do say to my 6 and 9 year old lads that I don’t like the use of the word in this way as it implies that all things ‘gay’ are dumb and stupid and so by association to be gay is to be dumb and stupid. I remember hearing on arrival to NZ from the UK pakeha kids saying ‘that’s a real Maori idea’: just as this phrase is racist I think that using ‘gay’ in this way is homophobic. Of course, I didn’t pay much heed to the use of the word at the time.

And I remind my kids of gay people we have known and know and asked them to think about why we should use ‘gay’ in this way. (I skirt around racial/cultural identity here as I’m not sure if they are ready for “what if someone said ‘that’s a real Indian idea”? They have no real idea just how Indian/Pakeha/English they are—we are a very odd family!)

Roishan takes great amusement in my reaction to his use of ‘gay’and finds my fussing over it really, well, sort of ‘gay.’ I know he’s winding me up so I make my voice a little more flat and deadpan.

But I wish that this appropriation hadn’t this a generation thing?

International readers—do kids use ‘gay’ like this in other countries?

...arcite at Tuesday, June 21, 2005...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

1. Speaking in tongues. Talking heads(x3)
2. Out of the moon. Goldenhorse (x3)
3. Sketches of spain. Miles Davis.
4. Who can you trust? Morcheeba.
5. Dvorák. Symphonie No.7
6. Bass Player. Rhombus.
7. Paradigm Shift. Rhian Sheehan.
8. We didn’t start the fire. Wūlfræd Compilation (x2)
9. Pin-ups. Bowie
10. Something else. Cannonball Adderley
11. Paradigm shift. Rhian Sheehan.
12. Ultimate collection. Graham Parker and the Rumour
13. Chutes too narrow. The Shins

Poor old talking heads—will they survive the test of time? ‘Swamp’ for me is the stand-out track. It all sounds a bit aspie druggy-arty now. Goldenhorse grows with each listening though still a bit cold. Actually, ‘rocky mountain’ by the obscure Bressa Creeting Cake has been playing all week in my head—so very quirky. Miles and Morcheeba will probably endure time’s bitter test though Rhombus suffer from grandstanding male vocals without passion (a little clinical, perhaps but still pretty good, no quams, mam), and the Shins, well, talk about winter motifs—it’s friggin’ brilliant really, I mean why stop playing anyone out there?

...arcite at Saturday, June 18, 2005...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

So why does that slogan appear on the shirt? How do you read that?

Well, “out of the strong shall come sweetness” is the slogan of a popular British syrup that appear with the image of a lion on every can of syrup. As a kid, I remember dripping syrup from a spoon back into the tin and making gorgeous thin trails. So I guess the syrup on the shirt refers to the record’s sugary-sweet syrupy pop.

But the origin of the slogan is found in a remarkable tale about Sampson told in the barmy book of Judges. As I remember the tale, a lion attacks Sampson but Sampson is so strong he’s able to rip apart the lion with his bare hands and finds within the lion’s stomach a thick clot of honey which he eats. He then challenges people to answer his ‘riddle’—just the same sort of mock riddle that Bilbo poses to Gollum in The Hobbit—or else to pay him in linen (perhaps this is the origin of the linen which is also wrapped the meat on the reverse cover of Scritti Politti’s Cupid and Psyche: “out of the eater something to eat, out of the strong something sweet”.

...arcite at Thursday, June 16, 2005...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

another meltdown

‘what else am i going to get goddam it—i’m mising my show!’ Arrrrrrrrrrrr. He rushes off to smash Tyger’s plastic bottle

a fortnight of angry storms.

where’s the old sweetness?

My lengthy review essay appears in NZ Books. I haven't read it yet--while I'm at school a secretary from a not-for-profit NGO calls home saying "good to hear that you're back!" Word-girl was working from home and had a chat with her. I remember writing something for their magazine back when I was in Singapore. This is the first time anyone has called home about anything I've written. I just hope that there's no typos.

...arcite at Wednesday, June 15, 2005...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the morning’s grey photocopied sky

the smell of paper stuck in the copier

my next poetry review’s late and the AGM’s on Thursday

held again for lack of a quorum

on the drive to school I listened to the motorcade

...arcite at Tuesday, June 14, 2005...

Monday, June 13, 2005

"Out of the eater came meat, and out of the strong came sweetness." Judges, 14:14

the inkiness of it, the grey of the morning

the kinky inkyness
soft as butterflies on meat

...arcite at Monday, June 13, 2005...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

for the spirit of the creatures was within the wheels

when cooking chilies avoid the seeds and the white middles
those are just hot and the subtle flavours are on the outside

this boy in the library café this afternoon wearing a blue (football? school jacket? a light jacket worn by US kids in the 50s) jacket: I’m 4 Jesus! His dad, close cropped short hair, sitting with him, his elder brother and younger sister, the look on his face, his concentration

so late from church?

the bob jones university dress code. the exactitude and kinkiness of prescribed measurements and requirements. the kinkiness of the prophet prescribed to sleep for 40 days on his side, the appeal to irrationality, the danger

ok, go make the canneloni, go make vege soup as well, go drink a VB

sweet as the honeyed scroll of the law in my mouth

...arcite at Sunday, June 12, 2005...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dear Scooter

Just wishing you all the best for your operation. All our thoughts are with you. Make sure that you have time to take a break from work rest up – get some good books!

For some reason, the saying written on the shirt on Scritti Politt's Wood Beez 12" keeps coming to mind when I think of you: "Out of the strong shall come forth sweetness." Don't let the wood bees get you down.

Kia Kaha



...arcite at Saturday, June 11, 2005...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Last night we had a family puja for Lakshmi. Word-girl wanted to get the wealth energy flowing. In the grey afternoon we drove to an Indian store and bought sandalwood soap and a small print of the god. We stopped at home and brought the bronze statue of Ganesha, brought all the way from Indian for our wedding present, and went up the hill to my in-laws house (Raju and Sita’s). Sita had made a ceremonial diya (oil lamp) by twisting cotton wool and soaking it in cooking oil. After they made the offering and sang mantras Sita put a tilak on our foreheads and we ate puja food: yummy puris, halwa, chole (a type of bean) and aloo. After dinner we watched Air Crash Investigations, a disaster show, and I saw that in the kitchen the lamps were still burning before Ganesha.

...arcite at Monday, June 06, 2005...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

On the stereo

1. Back to mine. Tricky (x3)
2. Brigitte Encerer/Olec Maisenberg. Rachmaninov. Œuvres pour 2 pianos (x6)
3. Out of the moon. Goldenhorse (x2)
4. Back to mine. Richard X. (x2)
5. Tuwhare. (Various) (x2)
6. Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 18 & Piano Concerto No. 4 Op. 40 . Vladimir Ashkenazy. (x3)
7. Debussy. Piano Works Vol 1. F. Thiollier (x3)
8. Chutes too narrow. The shins (x2).
9. Under the influence. Bob geldolf (x3)

key songs: low life. PiL. battery in your leg. blur. annalisa. PiL. Eat the music. Kate Bush: good to see that Tricky likes this one as it's on his Back to Mine! Who is she? I Monster. You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties. Jona Lewis. 'I don't want to grow old' The Mint chicks.

Yes, it's really quite a mixed bunch this fortnight as I drift towards the classical piano. I can't hear too much of 'Chutes too Narrow' and the new Goldenhorse CD is starting to sound good despite my lukewarm response to the first hearing—just like Riverhead.

Bob's under the influence, like mozza's, shows an anxiety of influence: mozza never mentions Bowie and St. Bob makes no reference to the Stones. I found Mozza’s compilation boring but enjoy Bob's: good to hear G. Parker's 'Can’t be too strong' and the surprisingly good Kris Kristofferson track 'The Pilgrim- Chapter 33.' I like it when compilers dare to be uncool and just throw something unexpected in the mix. Roxy Music's 'Do the Strand' still sounds wildly rococo and the choice of Bowie's 'Drive in Saturday' shows good sense: a strange tale indeed. The CD ends with Cohen's 'Majestic Blue Raincoat. Talk about end music: nuff said.

I have a Boomtown Rats story. Back in 1980 the Rats played Wellington. At the time, I was infatuated with a fashion model (ms. something or other—oh shallow youth!). Anyway, one afternoon out courting—never consummated partly because I grew so tired with her and she was merely toying with me between stud puppies—we bowled in to the town hall as the Rats were rehearsing before the evening concert and I had the nerve to sit about four rows back from the front. "No punters! No punters!" quipped the lead guitarist to which I replied "Punters, I’ve never even been on a boat in all my life!" I got up to leave, we'd been sprung, but Bob said smiling "No, yer all right, you can stay." The rehearsal was better than the concert and I've always thanked the band for not throwing us out. I didn't even ask her to go to the concert. Not that daft. A golden afternoon.

...arcite at Thursday, June 02, 2005...