Monday, July 28, 2003

Up with people! 

Bruce is one of the best reasons to visit the charming hamlet of Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. His work is ingenious; a kind of radical alchemy mixing utilitarian pencil case design, a passion for sumptuous materials, and...errr...gingerbread men. After finding out about his activities almost a year ago from one of my Kyoto-born acquaintances, I finally got a chance to drop by his shoppe, which is nestled in a picturesque, temple district (actually Saga-Tenryuji Susukinobaba if you must ask). I spent the better part of an hour there chewing the cud with bruce about his life, work, and philosophies while trying to select "my Bruce" from among the legions of unique works neatly arrayed on the walls while his apprentices busied themselves over their digital workbenches, the fans on their G4s providing that familiar, soothing dim. Yes, they were planning the nature of pencil case fashion to come in the form of a revolution called "people" as the cherubic mastermind of it all looked on. Thanks for everything Bruce!

Manly hands . . . 

Men acting like women,
then wanting to be with one another.
Men touching each other!
Their stubbly chins rubbing up against one another.
touching each other...
Manly hands touching swirls of chest hair,
the occasional whiff of a rugged aftershave...
Their low, baritone voices sighing, grunting.
They hold one another in manly, masculine arms.

- Sheriff Dullard in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar

Saturday, July 26, 2003

In the place to be! 

STORE BOLD in case you were sleeping. I just went by today and got a new print for my studio, and now I'm tickled to be the first kid on my block to have one. Anyway, I'll be doing a collaboration with the store soon, currating a collection of CDs (mostly my friend's sounds) to be put on display (and infinite playback) there for a whole month. I can't wait to get started.

If you ever find yourself between Nakameguro and a hard place, you might as well give in to the urge and go eat kick-ass ramen atKouryu. May i be so bold as to suggest the "pick your own toppings" ramen? It really is to die for, especially when complimented with a 100 yen "service beer" and followed up with a かいだま (refill of noodles). While you are there enjoying the cockpit style dining envorinment, please take time to make note of the "signs" by 芸能人 of the upper and lower echelons, as well as other various and sundry folk of the Nakame persuasion. Also please appreciate the carefully currated jazz being spun in the background. I slurped my final spoonfull the other day to the transcendental trains of "A Love Supreme" by my man Coltrane. Shit like that doesn't happen everyday kids.

I ran into a very nice, slightly tipsy Japanese guy from bonzaipaint the other day when I was having drinks with Antonin and Midori at Cha-No-Ma in Nakame. Actually, he made it a point to run into me, because I was wearing a baseball cap that he had designed himself. Needless to say, we hit if off.

Oh, Ichibanya has damn good curry, and are all over the place. There is one not too far from my studio and I was enjoying having trouble making up my mind about my custom order.

Athens revisited. 

My favorite CD ever (once again) is The Midnight Queens of Athens, GA by The Wild Gumbo, so if you are out there, Mr. Vernon J. Thornsberry, and if you are listening, I just want you to know that I'm out here, and that I'm still listening too.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

What can you say except, "dammmnn!"?  

...is a question put to me (well, actually ALL of us) recently in the ever-stimulating weblog of Roddy Schrock in regards to this thing. Well, my answer is simple: lots and lots. But as for the explanation, I'll have to go into it later as i'm feeling under the weather at the moment. Truly a pity, since it kept me from an appointment with Motokick from intikrec and friends this evening. for now, I'll just say that during the thrust of my comments, copious references will be made to The Information Bomb by Paul Virilio (published a while back by Verso, my current favorite).

Geek out! 

Today I, Robert Duckworth (geek) am going to Akiba with Digiki (also a geek, but of the Parisian variety, and therefore much more perfumed) Today. we are total geeks and are aware of it. We will do many geeky things together, such as fantasizing about all the shit that awaits us, checking out all of the geeky new Apple shit at the Ike shop, drooling over all of the geeky new shit, and eventually buying lots of geeky new shit. Then we will fondle the geeky new shit on the train ride home, and as soon as we get back to my studio, will carefully open up our new geeky toys and geek-out. If, that is, we get some mad bank wired to us from gay Paris!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The unknown language?!? Pshaw!!!  

Today is remarkably temperate, especially for a day falling near the end of the Japanese rainy-season. i'm sitting here in my Kamineguro studio, while a rain so light that if it gets any lighter it will turn into a drizzle is being blown now and again by a coolish breeze. My little Japanese wind-chime is tinkling, and from time to time, a drop or two makes it through my open window and onto my face. All if full of love. And while the feeling is superb, i'm sure it won't bestill my panic if a raindrop makes it into my PwrBkg4's mothaboard!

Anyway, i'm now in the final editing process of translating the Tsujiko Noriko radio broadcast into English for all of the monolinguals and non-Japanese speakers out there. The process is thoroughly enjoyable, as her Japanese is far from the garden-variety 標準語 spoken here in Tokyo. a kind of idiosyncratic mix of 関西弁and "ツジコ弁" with a peppering of little nuances that leaves me wanting to hear more. I also guess that at the time of the recording, she was experiencing a little 一杯機嫌 from some of that gin and juice that she was sippin' on, but too bad that this word passed into disuse quite some time ago in Japanese. I can think of other ways to say it, but none so elegant as this. i digress.

In any event, I should be finished sometime this weekend, and will try to find a good place to make the translation available (perhaps on her webpage). But now i just remembered that Momus told me that he had first dibs on it quite some time ago, as he intends to use it to "study" Japanese. hummm...

(oh, and now just a personal note to myself: robert, don't forget to remember that essay you are planning on the Japtop vocal tradition.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Last night I enjoyed a tasty dinner of Tokyo-style okonomiyaki with Midori (up-and-coming japtop kid now in tokyo), Digiki (avant-recontextualization mp3j from paris) and his acquaintance David (a garden-variety indiepop/post-Shibuya-ke type newly arrived from America). Several things are worth mentioning here regarding my dining companions:

1) Midori has an interesting take on okonomiyaki making, even if she is from the Kansai. I enjoyed watching her cover-up this lack of culinary prowess for the better part of 10 min. before swooping in with spatula in hand to rescue her. what a trooper, though!

2) Although he really can't hold his liquor, Digiki always, both to his own peril and credit, follows my lead if i'm drinking the hard stuff. Oh these French boys do bore...perhaps one day my prince will come and drink me under the table! But until then, I'll just keep waiting and hoping and just tie another one one.

3) David reminded me of all (three of) the east-asian studies kids I used to know in Athens at U.G.A. who were "into Japan" so much it hurt, and therefore I found his personality completely engrossing. I wanted to just sit back and listen to him go on and on about pop music and his love of it! I really can't go into enough detail here, but limitations of space and time permit me from doing so, but please at least allow me to indulge myself by venturing one more rather general comment. If someone asked me to divvy up the pesos last night, and to articulate why I felt that out of the four of us, David was the odd man out, I'd have to turn to my nigga Walt Whitman, who once said "He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher." I don't think that David has had time to learn a healthy disrespect for Japan or the music that he loves that originated here. it is more of a question of emulation, which is of course a lower-order pursuit, but therein also a fascinating time capsule to be opened (with caution) and peered into.

4) Finally, turning the aperture towards yours truly, I see that it is exactly as i was warned...i need to lighten up!


Here is a list of the books that I've been re/devouring for the past two months or so. If you see something that interests you, if you have a comment, or you'd like to suggest a book for me to check out, I'm always interested.

Of course, my friends who have made their objections known to this recently resurrected bookworm, cite my increasingly reclusive nature. granted, these objections are sustained. Also, due to the oxorbitant price of imported books in japan, my ever dwindling bank account lends further gravity to their point.

However, my favorite southerner Mark Twian once said that "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." I hold this maxim to be self-evident. After all, I could be spending all my money on weed, like all the folks i knew back in LA, and where would that get me, dude?

A Mammal's Notebook: Collected Writings of Erik Satie (Atlas Arkhive , No 5)
The Empire of Signs
Barthes: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Barthes and the Empire of Signs (Postmodern Encounters)
Coming Out in Japan
Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Foucault and Queer Theory (Postmodern Encounters)
Queer Theory and Social Change (Opening Out)
Deconstructing Disney
Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Lyotard and the End of Grand Narratives (Political Philosophy Now)
Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia
The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914 (Yale Intellectual History of the West)
Marx: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
The Spirit of Terrorism: And Requiem for the Twin Towers
Screened Out
Stupid White Men
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, in Theory : Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture

Monday, July 21, 2003

What if my B.P. turns out to be B.B.? 

I've got a lot going on these days. Here's a rundown:

1) I've just finished a tour of japan with Momus and Digiki. I'll go into more detail later in a tour diary when I have more time. for now, here is a list of the dates and venues that we played.

2003.07.05 (sat) in Nagoya @ N.V. Cafe
2003.07.05 (sat) in Osaka @ Club Karma
2003.07.06 (sun) in kobe @ Otoya
2003.07.07 (mon) in Kobe @ C.U.E.
2003.07.12 (sat) in Kokura (Kyushu) @ MHZ
2003.07.13 (sun) in Kyoto @ Metro
2003.07.19 (sat) in Tokyo @ Super Deluxe

2) Working on a new avant-popish duo with Midori with plans to complete an album before this winter, and to take the fruits of our labor to europe for a small tour there with friends from tsunami-addiction.

3) I've recently been invited to join on at OK FRED as an assistant staff member, and I'm pleased as punch! it is of course THE magazine to read here if you are interested in both national (Japanese) and international experimental new media/sound arts, since it contains just the right mixture of geeky seriousness and blase graphic-arts driven cool (just like CalArts did, except this a "real world" entity). I just got the back-issues in the main from sidelab, and I'll have to peruse them asap and give myself a refresher on their aesthetic. anyway, despite my best efforts, I'm sure that issue #3 will turn out just fine.

4) oh, I'm bustling about Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Akiba trying to get my hands on all the gear that i need to finish setting up a new studio perched on the outskirts of Kamimeguro (actually right around the corner from the Idee Service Station, which is really the only place to be) since the neighborhood here in Meguro seems to be going to pot recently. Honestly, I'm far more worried about my interior decoration at this point than what kind of monitors or mixer I'll buy. needless to say, I'm having guilty flashbacks of certian scenes in the movie Fight Club...

I would flip through catalogs and wonder, "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?" We used to read pornography. Now it was the Horchow Collection.

All of which leads me to wonder if some day my Brad Pitt will come, and blow everything up for me, thus setting me free from all of the fabric coordination nightmares I'm currently facing. but what if my Brad Pitt actually turns out to be Brad Breeck? what then?

"I will now compare and contrast Jesus and Spider-Man."  

Skepticism regarding the concept of "a study in contrasts" was perhaps given its most eloquent utterance (ad absurdum) in these imortal words, first spoken by Robin Williams more than a few years ago during one of his comedy routines. In the spirit of this perilous phrase, I've taken it upon myself to formulate and address the musical analog of this conundrum in an essay to appear one day in this very post (once I update it). the tentative title is "I will sooner or later compare and contrast Momus and Carl Stone." the only problem is, first i have to decide who is Jesus, and who bones Mary Jane. once this little snafu is dispelled, I'm sure things will proceed smoothly.

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