Monday, February 21, 2005 

Writer Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself

Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America's underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Hell's Angels," has committed suicide. News story here.

What follows is a copy of a tribute feature at Pitchfork:

To my knowledge, Hunter S. Thompson never wrote a record review. His famous involvement with Rolling Stone was incidental to its focus on music, and due merely to Jann Wenner's willingness to publish lengthy screeds and pay both relatively well and on time. But, despite some people's opinion, we at Pitchfork are all writers, and as ones prone to the occasional experimental flight and its frequent partner self-indulgence, we live in the shadow of Hunter just as much as those of Lester or Greil.

Predictably, most body-still-warm retrospectives on Thompson's life have been drawn to wrongheaded discussions of drug use and general debauchery rather than his influence on the writing world. But it's hard to get to self-righteous about this treatment-- by the time of his death, HST had long been something of a caricature, both literally, in Doonesbury, and figuratively, through his increasingly bizarre rants about paranoia and football gambling published on ESPN's Page 2. Whether drawn by Trudeau or Steadman, Thompson is cursed to be forever portrayed with cartoon circles orbiting his Panama hat, nothing but a Halloween costume or a t-shirt.

Few seem to have noticed that the absurdly exaggerated drug use of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is given a portrayal that is far from enticing, note-perfectly enacted by Terry Gilliam's film of the book. To Thompson, his persona's ingestion of drugs wasn't a celebration of counterculture mind exploration, but a desperate self-inoculation against the increasingly diseased American atmosphere closing in on all sides. Fear & Loathing didn't earn its place in American literature as a celebration of pharmaceutical joyriding, but rather as an obituary for the delusional promises of the 1960s--it's a literary Altamont.

Also seemingly misunderstood are Thompson's politics, often summed up merely as being anti-Nixon and, as such, implicitly leftist. In truth, HST's views ran much closer to libertarian recluse, with his main political issue being the right to own very large guns, and his lunatic run for sheriff on the Freak Power ticket mostly a reaction to ski resorts moving in on his Colorado compound. If Thompson had a political agenda, it was primarily against the invasion of government into private life, and recent times had only given him renewed reason to trot out the phrase most often associated with his work.

But the truly lasting impact of Hunter S. Thompson's life will forever be his subversion of traditional journalistic technique, injecting pure subjectivity into the sometimes pious, self-deceiving arm of reporting. Realizing that it was impossible to completely subvert one's personality towards the end of objectively stating facts, Thompson took things to the opposite extreme, placing himself in the scene whenever possible and running off on fantastical tangents when reality got too dry. He knew riding with and subsequently getting beat down by the Hell's Angels would get the story better than interviews and microfiche, knew that the Kentucky Derby's snobbish depravity was better covered drunk and betting profligately than from the detachment of the press box.

Yet this innovation isn't merely manifest today in the pretensions of silly indie rock reviewers. In a news world overrun by pundits drunk on their sense of infallibility, the needle of Gonzo journalism is all the more necessary, which is probably why "The Daily Show" out-reports the 24-hour infotainment factories with a scarily high frequency. Literature meanwhile continues to go through cycles of fourth-wall demolition, most recently with the rise and fall of hyper-reflective memoirs, while documentary films start to free themselves from the restrictions of cold, emotionless observation and embrace subjectivity with the same rush HST delivered 30 years ago.

While Thompson's self-inflicted death immediately felt more horrible than a natural-cause variety exit, the waiting period of a slow deadline has brought his choice into sharper focus, almost seeming like a logical final act to his career. Anyone who has seen recent footage of the man knows his health was grim at best, and it's only fitting that Thompson would chose to flex his subjectivity one last time regarding the timing and nature of his own demise. So let's not dwell on the ugly details of his death, nor the cultural distortion of his personality into a grinning Johnny Depp gripping a cigarette holder between his teeth and popping mescaline. Instead, let's dwell on the Jill Krementz's photo on the cover of his second letters collection: sitting in a car, wearing an ugly shirt, thinning hair, and a contemplative expression while, in his mind, he redrafts the rules of journalism.

Thursday, February 10, 2005 

Hugh Means, the man who wasn't there

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today
I wish that man would go away.

Hugh Means (1875 - 1965)

Por acaso alguem me sabe dizer alguma coisa sobre este senhor?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005 

Cocteau Twins e Dead Can Dance

Parece que vai ser um ano em cheio para os fans da 4AD. Tanto os Cocteau Twins como os Dead Can Dance, formações lendárias que popularizaram a atitude "shoegazing" e musica étnica e antiga dentro da musica popular dos anos 80, vão voltar a reunir-se para novos discos e espetáculos ao vivo (no caso dos DCD ha datas marcadas para aquí bem ao nosso lado, com espetáculos em Madrid e Barcelona). Segundo a Lisa Gerrard, a nova formação dos Dead Can Dance é simplesmente fabulosa, e claro está que neste momento estou em pulgas para os ir ver!

A impressão que muitas pessoas têm dos Dead Can Dance (e tive a oportunidade de confirmar isso mesmo ha pouco tempo, quando ofereci uma compilação a um casal de amigos meus e depois lhes perguntei o que tinham achado) é no mínimo injusta, visto serem muitas vezes confundidos como apenas "Goths" e mais uns imitadores de Bauhaus.

Consequentemente, muits ignoraram o trajecto musical do duo Brendan Perry e Lisa Gerrard, consideranto o seu trabalho intorelavelmente negro e melancólico ou simplesmente pretêncioso ou disparatado. É uma pena pois como antropologo musical,o sr. Brendan Perry seguramente rivaliza com um Peter Gabriel. A musica de fusão dos DCD, misturando diferentes tempos e zonas do planeta (musica antiga e renascentista, musica do norte de África e do Mediterâneo, musica árabe), é para mim uma das coisas mais interessantes que saíu do grande caldeirão que foi a 4AD dos anos 80.

Quanto aos Cocteau Twins (o acto definitivo e mais importante da 4AD... ok, não contando com os Pixies), ouvi-los continua a ser a melhor maneira de voltar aos meus anos de teenager, moody, de preto e a tentar fazer sentido do mundo através de magia.


Stephen Malkmus é o maior!

Uma entrevista dada pelo senhor Malkmus ao Pitchfork. Um pouco antiga mas ainda assim muito interessante. Não resisto a deixar um pequeno excerto:

Pitchfork: The song I've been listening to non-stop is "(Do Not Feed the) Oysters". Is it absurd to ask what it's about?

Malkmus: It's sort of about, well, like, sort of a psychedelic world [laughter] where there's, like, crimson alligators and they're in the surf and you can't feed the oysters because oysters jump out and bite you or something. It's kind of a weird world. And then the second verse isn't exactly like that, it's in the real world, but that's how it initially starts, as sort of an evil psychedelic Everglades or something. And it seemed to go with the chorus, "Do not feed the oysters," which I had. That was what I sang first when we were just fucking around in the studio: "Do not feed the oysters..." So I had to build something around that; it starts with something random, it could have been the first line, "Crimson alligators"-- maybe I thought of that first-- but once you say something like that, you're like, "Where does it go?" It's making connections with the words and just letting your imagination wander where ever it goes. But I mean, what are you going to sing about in a song like that? It's hard. I mean, you can't sing about goblins and gnomes. You don't want to go that far.

De relembrar ainda que está previsto o senhor Malkmus voltar a juntar-se ao Dave Berman's e aos Silver Jews para a gravação do novo disco. Não é um regresso dos Pavement, mas quem sabe se não algo ainda muito melhor!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005 

Cavaco Silva aposta em maioria absoluta do PS

Cavaquinho da Silva.

Segundo o publico de hoje, o record do guiness de pessoa com mais facadas nas costas foi oficialmente quebrado:

O ex-primeiro-ministro Aníbal Cavaco Silva aposta numa maioria absoluta do PS nas legislativas de dia 20 e considera que esse é o melhor cenário para o lançamento da sua candidatura à Presidência da República. Cavaco está mesmo convencido de que esse cenário se vai concretizar e tem manifestado essa opinião em reuniões sociais em que tem participado e nas quais se tem encontrado com figuras do PSD, sobretudo críticos da actual liderança de Pedro Santana Lopes.

Monday, February 07, 2005 


Chama-se AstroJax e está à venda nas lojas do Papagaio Sem Penas do Vasco da Gama e do Carrefour de Oeiras. Encontra-se também disponivel por mail-order na loja Objectos Voadores.Simples de jogar e bastante viciante, o AstroJax consiste de 3 bolas numa fio, com duas bolas permanentemente fixas nas pontas e a do meio livre de se mover ao longo do fio. Com apenas estes elementos a imaginação é o limite, podendo-se realizar orbitas verticais ou horizontais, truques de malabrismo, truques com o fio, etc, etc etc.


Kss - Um dos cromos do GFXArtist

Os trabalhos do "Kss" no GFXartist são mesmo muito bons, quem gosta destas coisas deve procurar o tutorial dele.




O MusicBrainz é um projecto que visa disponibilizar gratuitamente o acesso a uma base de dados com assinaturas digitais de ficheiros MP3, com vista a poder ser usada por programas para a identificação e "tagging" automático de ficheiros descarregados da Net. Do site do MusicBrainz:

MusicBrainz is a community music metadatabase that attempts to create a comprehensive music information site. You can use the MusicBrainz data either by browsing this web site, or you can access the data from a client program — for example, a CD player program can use MusicBrainz to identify CDs and provide information about the CD, about the artist or about related information. You can also use the MusicBrainz Tagger to automatically identify and clean up the metadata tags in your MP3 collections.

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