ATTENTION - UPDATES, CLARIFIES nonsensical statements, ADDS potty quotes, DELETES
"Hot? Bring on the girls!"
garbled par garbage /
[That's called, in the trade, the "trash line", since you have to tell 'em what's new. Agency journos word it more cautiously in practice, if not intent, when required. Clients get the message. The mainstream story's going to run... and run... but my initial "sidebar" post displeased me: things I couldn't say right. And you need a break or two...]
If Paul Kagame's Rwanda -- when I call him "the Ariel Sharon of east central Africa" some say "Hmm. See what you mean..." -- had failed to drop venom into the sea of praise washing in waves over the Vatican, you might almost believe the dead pope was a saint.
They're smart and fine-looking additions to the usual cast. Pia from Stockholm has done time in Paris before.
Saturation coverage! Second day in, the Factory risked resending its own stories, based by clients' readers on what we all reported yesterday and disguised by them as brand new reactions. One anonymous guy who monitors output said: "Not enough pope and Africa." Overhearing, I said: 'Far too much pope and everywhere else."
So the chief invited extra women to help out, Ieaving me pretending to be gobsmacked.
"Don't call me Debbie, but Deb's OK" -- yes, that made sense just on taking a new face in -- from Berlin was someone of almost unknown qualities to me.
Kagame's lot seized their chance to strike a discordant note in the "Hallelujah Chorus" about the wonderful things John Paul II did. They reminded the world some servants of the church were steeped to their armpits in blood in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda (the Global Policy Forum, an international consultancy panel to the UN Security Council, summed up the sordid story in 2001).
In that country, 'Hotel Rwanda' (iMDB) just got its premiere. No comment before I've seen it, except that Paul Rusesabagina, the man it's about, played by Don Cheadle in Terry George's strongly cast film wasn't there, his given reason "ill health," with the suspicion, on record, believes it unwise to go back after a recent comment that a new slaughter's going on.
Many Rwandans said they appreciated it; some wept, remembering; others found it more "real" than Raoul Peck's 'Sometimes in April', which had too much politics, too few people's personal tragedies, for them.
I mildly protested to desk chief David that editorial reinforcements are non-existent or very rare when Africa's struck by 19 simultaneous calamities, but it takes just the demise of "an old man in Rome to surround me with great women".
"It's called temptation," he replied, with the small smile we were told to expect once he'd got used to his bunch of people feeding your newspapers, radios and tellies with many of their stories.
In fact, it's called the realpolitik (Wikipedia) of the media. Big bosses the world over decide what matters to the woman and man in the street and which news is most likely to fatten their own wallets. The Factory can hardly be an exception.
If you fear more moans about the way news is packaged, forget it. Entries last month said all I'd like to see set right in a wiser, less frenzied world.
I was happy with the background noise of Pia and Deborah debating which of the hotels the Factory had plotted to keep them in for a week was the most revolting. This changed fast enough, probably precisely because they are striking women. I don't recall previous guests getting such service. That, too, is the way of the world.
Deb later reminded me she chose to remain in hers; Pia moved and pinched a breakfast yoghurt, hasn't learned to chuck it over Factory keyboards to keep them going.
And somebody on a crackling line asked me, in passing, "Are you bowled over by Deborah's good looks?"
Blimey! "Am I bowled over by Deborah's good looks? Yes, I'm bowled over by Deborah's good looks."
Deborah said: "You'll make me blush," but didn't.
I swore revenge and a "What kind of question is that?" award, but won't.
If somebody ever reads this, Deborah says "Hi!"
To worsen matters on Monday, Ellie was making her weekly visit but looking far too concentrated for me to risk remarks that sprung to mind after last week's lengthy account of what's happened since I was an idiot. Remember, her role in it saw these pages get a stunning number of hits. I nearly went into hibernation again.
I even forgot the Squip's birthday. She didn't, but having hit me with "podcasting", she's trying to inflict it on everybody ('Dusting my Brain') [apology tendered: comments] at a place that keeps changing colour and design.
Now please don't tell me it's nothing but sex and more of the real dirt I dare disclose you'll be wanting henceforth.
Imagine the further trouble I'd risk seeking a classic LP scene, as recounted by Laura Burhenn -- yes, iTMS, she's indeed "explicit" but good -- in 'Cleveland Hotel No 2', on 'Wanderlust'.
"Sorry, love. You've found the wrong address."
I shan't quote lines to make Deborah and Pia change colour themselves, particularly since Pia's only known me for a screwed-up mess.
The woman from Berlin and its risk-taking new music scene needs only to know that if a desk chief and his System superiors sticks "temptation" in hotels and I have yet to receive two fingers, a setting straight or an unlikely surprise -- for the usual research purposes -- I'm irredeemably guilt-free.
El remains an unknown quantity. She may take this nonsense in her stride like she did worse. The LP's kept me working very hard. When I woke up early on Sunday, it was to find computer on, late supper unfinished and planned bedtime reading untouched, since the film's characters were having such an odd time in a tricky, unfinished scene they wrote me to sleep. Still were last night, before I left them and wrote this. Women!
Cyndy, now among the "remarkable writers" because I've liked her attitude and scribblings since last week, reminded me women sometimes have problems understanding men, but put her finger on part of the dilemma a few days ago in Proud yet Painful at 'mousemusings'.
"Men have always been good to me, my closest friends. I think I communicate more in the male realm. After reading the [following] article I know I don't fit in the woman's mold. No, I don't fit with men entirely either, but I can understand their little blogging cliques. If they get too fraternal I just don't visit. Simple. Same thing in the physical world.
For some thoughts based on experience, I'd write something "in the orchard".
Sometimes I don't understand either sex. When my old friend called looking for my childhood best friend, his old girlfriend, it was a nice phone reunion, even though I couldn't help with her location. When he subsequently found her and wanted me to call her for him, I couldn't. I just couldn't. It's been a bit intense with him pressing, me resisting, finally ending with his writing and passing along my email address to her. He wasn't fully aware of what had happened to our friendship and I couldn't understand why he didn't feel comfortable calling her himself. Men!"
For a quick answer, I'd say "cliques", "intensity," "pressing," "uncomfortable". Her own words. Cyndy found a 1990 Washington Post article by Deborah Tannen: 'Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why is it so Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?'
Here's a generalisation, but true: because often they don't. They talk past each other.
Both men and women are good at making cliques, from which I flee, especially when they consist of men: whether it's football or old school ties. They're tedious.
Cyndy says she communicates "more in the male realm". Me? Behind a womaniser mask it's fun to wear -- but just a mask, Squip! -- I get along much better with women, as a whole, because as we've known for months for sure, much of the time I think like one. My brain came that way, like being left-handed.
"But often when women tell men, 'You aren't listening,' and the men protest, 'I am,' the men are right. The impression of not listening results from misalignments in the mechanics of conversation. The misalignment begins as soon as a man and a woman take physical positions,"
says Tannen, outlining what happened when the Kid reproached me and didn't like it when I repeated every word back at her, then replied. As Tannen explains, men and women often have different languages, both in vocabulary and with their bodies, interests, and above all, expectations.
If I cared tuppence about social status and hierarchies, excessive competitiveness and power play, in or out of the Factory, I wouldn't get on half as well with women, though I'm known on ultra-rare occasions to wear a tie, whose purpose bewildered me until someone I'm reading said "It's an arrow pointing: 'Look at my dick!'"
And if Ellie hadn't taught me to concentrate on detail, very often the really small stuff, as women do, the film wouldn't be going nearly so well, full of life instead of a handful of Big Ideas made insupportably dull by cardboard characters.
"Little girls create and maintain friendships by exchanging secrets; similarly, women regard conversation as the cornerstone of friendship. So a woman expects her husband to be a new and improved version of a best friend. What is important is not the individual subjects that are discussed but the sense of closeness, of a life shared, that emerges when people tell their thoughts, feelings, and impressions."
I'm in no mood for an orchard stroll, finding a funny or poetic way of giving you more screenplay plot: the detail of ways I hear growing numbers of men and women sharing languages, secrets and expectations.
Africa's all mine again in the morning. Next week's worse and the chief can't give me anyone off the desk, let alone have a Deb or Pia stay to help me out. Such is life, a life in which despite being agreeably surrounded, my occasionally "badly" behaved body part gave me no trouble. Next time it does, I won't be blogging it. I'm into secrets too, and still extremely attentive to the Best of True Sex Stories, as long as they're especially funny or absurd. I won't be rewarded for indiscretion.
A last bit of front-page "fuckinfilosofy" almost goes without saying: not one of us has a single-sex mind. Nobody. Men who contend they do, particularly the machos, are almost invariably near basket-cases of insecurity and even paranoia, though often they don't realise it. Among women, insecurity and fear can take different shapes. If it's hysteria or "tsunamis", I switch off until they've calmed down. But the worst thing is to take any of it, or themselves, very seriously and it's because Jacob knows this that the 'verseguru' got blogrolled, not because he found me first.
"I can't find the words."
Siona -- whom of course I fancy, like half the blogrolled women -- has recently been having trouble with time, but she said something I liked last month:
"I keep running out of vocabulary. I keep exceeding my capacity for emotion."
Call me articulate, but do I know that feeling, how words don't come close!
An ex-muse's private life has no place here, but the characters in the LP are better than me at finding ways to express complex cocktails of emotions, mine and those of others. I let them, just knock shape into it.
When El quits the Factory and it's been no place for any kind of fun with her except when it comes to the work, always the work, who can really make sense of how the hot passion and stung "wanting" I felt for her last year briefly fires up again, but tempered by the laid-back, forever live and let live love I feel now, working through me? It can be a sad, horny, silly, happy mix-up for an hour or two. And who can tell the emotional overload a dad with a daughter for a great friend and now a life very much her own feels with each "see you soon"? We all go through stuff like this.
So what's the VoW thing?
Women often tell it best, just as they can talk sex better than many men, take "porn" without pumping and grinding, add touch and feeling and sense, make it much more erotic. Hence my thing about stuff they sing. Take Laura Burhenn (her site). You'll not find her music at Amazon. If you're Josh Faust ('The Conjecturer' -- new address), she warmed your heart in being "very helpful vandalizing his Jeep, and wound up being a fun partner with whom to sing "I Believe in a Thing Called Love'..." (Josh last May). He added:
"Laura Burhenn is a perfect example of how independent musicians will eventually save the record industry from itself, from the downward spiral of over-marketed throwaway acts and slutty teenagers pandering to lecherous old men. She breaks all the molds of the young, beautiful, aspiring singer, and does so in a way that surpasses many established female songstresses."
Heard of Laura? Better still, listened to Laura? If so, great. If not, she'll blow you away. I hope. Happy sad and so much more. Our lives, her take on them.
Here are a few names, a handful famous, some known, others obscure:
Jennifer Terran. Autour de Lucie. Bettina Covo. Gemma Hayes. Caecilie Norby. Jolie Holland. Emma Milan. Sarah Fimm. Natalie Imbruglia. Sahara Hotnights. Keren Ann. Delta Goodrem. HEM. Coralie Clement. Dani Siciliano. Ojos de Brujo. Julia Hülsmann. Rebekka Bakken. Ellen Allien. Jessica Dye. Liz Phair. KT Tunstall. Eliane Elias. Sharon Allitt. Julia Fordham. The very young Michelle Branch, who, like the Kid, has got something special and a maturity ahead of her years, to catch up with herself if the industry doesn't, heaven forbid, Britney spear her brain.
Yes. The Kid blew it when she led her dad to unexplored shelves at Virgin and in the FNAC!
Now she gets the surprises. "PJ Harvey? Camille? Hey! Can I, can I, can I...?" She knows she may. It's an open library, on condition nobody gets ripped off, above all the artists.
Since lists are boring, that's only a bit of the bunch, all women, many first-rate lyricists, tried and tested for long enough, good album from bad, to sell their voices to me. Some are just starting out. Natalie Imbruglia (almost Official) is, of course, Australian. Sahara Hotnights (.com) are four Swedish women. They need a boost, encouragement. Even Natalie, if she's to keep it, stay herself. The habit of comparing one voice with another by "critics" is so common it's dangerously abused. OK, she may sound "a bit like..." and to say so can give clues, but no more than that.
Styles in the list range from electronic to tango, rock anthem to very cool jazz, blue poetry to new age, whatever. I've left out the many Africans, most of the stars who've grown up without losing it, which is why I admire Madonna, the dunno-what Indian fusion...
I'll be careful to avoid making the bank manager see red again, but I've got deep into the VoW project, because Ana Gracey is a long way from alone in needing all the promotion and informed, constructive "criticism" she can get, mostly of the "Since you've got it, why not risk...?" kind.
If I tell you about already well-known song-writer musicians, it'll be when I hear things others may not have said. It's fantastic fun, full of insights, and I'm discovering song after song so good it stops me being able to read in the Métro or elsewhere because somebody's telling me stories either straight or with great wit and wordplay so well that occasionally I wonder why I ever bother to write another word myself. I concentrate and absorb.
If this goes on, anything that's ever happened to anybody may be somewhere on my iPod, often in the voice of a woman, along with countless dreams and flights into other dimensions. Lapses into banal lyrics don't bother me greatly if the music's good.
This stuff has to be shared. I'll still do sci-fi reviews and the like occasionally, but the screenplay and promoting real talent without hype and bullshit now take priority over anything else but friends. If an artist ceases to be themselves, just part and "product" of the System, I lose interest.
I almost wish those who sustain my insatiable curiosity laid off sex more often (as of course they quite often do) because this may mean too more nights like last night. My sole wish on leaving the Factory was to lay somebody hot and get laid, with lots of fun and no fuss. Just really well and the longer the better.
Instead here I am, a head filled with fine set words, the right sounds. There's no sex in that tricky LP scene, but my ears took in the occasional memorably sticky line about how some woman's juices are flowing and what they'd like done about it. Straight away. Never heard the like on the radio when I was a lad. Often still don't. Censorship is stronger than we like to imagine. I reckon it'll get worse for some who tell it like it is. After all, anybody can be called a "terrorist": what a useful way for a System to wage "permanent war" on its "enemies within". And you're stuck with this drivel...
Oh well, poor sap I may be, but the sap keeps right on rising.
2:15:43 AM link