Wednesday, September 05, 2012

John Cage One Hundred Years Conscious


I    went    to    a    concert    upstairs    in
Town    Hall.                                       The
   composer    whose    works    were    being   
performed              had    provided    program
notes.                                       One    of
   these    notes     was     to     the     effect
   that     there     is     too     much     pain
  in     the     world.
        After     the     concert               I     was
    walking     along     with     the     composer
             and     he     was     telling     me
 how     the     performances     had     not     been
    quite     up     to     snuff.
                   So     I     said,
           “Well,                              I   
enjoyed     the     music,
 but     I     didn’t     agree     with     that
 program     note     about     there     being
too     much     pain     in     the     world.”
          He     said,                              “What?
                                        Don’t     you
  think     there’s     enough?”                I
said,                                 “I     think
there’s      just      the      right      amount.”

"I Could not accept the academic idea that the purpose of music was communication.  I thought, if I were communicating, then all artists must be speaking a different language and thus speaking only for themselves.  The whole music situation struck me more and more as a Tower Of Babel.    I learned in eastern belief, 'the purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influence.' And I believe it is true, I was tremendously struck by this and decided then and there that this was the proper purpose of music."  --Cage, 1949

One   evening   I   was   walking   along   Hollywood
  Boulevard,                     nothing   much   to
  do.                            I   stopped          and
  looked   in   the   window   of   a   stationery
 shop.                            A   mechanized   pen
  was   suspended   in   space          in   such   a
  way   that,   as   a   mechanized   roll   of   paper
  passed   by   it,                      the   pen   went
  through   the   motions   of   the   same 
penmanship   exercises           I   had   learned
 as   a   child   in   the   third   grade.
                    Centrally   placed   in   the 
window   was   an   advertisement           explaining
  the   mechanical   reasons           for    the
perfection    of    the    operation            of
  the    suspended    mechanical    pen.
                   I    was    fascinated,
            for    everything    was    going    wrong.
                               The    pen    was   
tearing    the    paper    to    shreds            and
   splattering    ink    all    over    the    window
           and    on    the    advertisement,
nevertheless,                   remained   legible.

First Construction (in metal), 1939


Rich said...

Beautiful. Thank you for doing this.

liz said...

agreed! i toast to you!

Mr Bigpants Cock (of the) Walk said...

Do I really need to be a facebook cunt in order to download yr books from scribd? and even then I have to become a premium member of scribd?
Am I doing something wrong or is this really unbelievably more assholish than a chicago public school teacher?

Rich said...

I've never tried to download one of my own books on there, so I went for it, and yeah it appears so. Free to read, $$$ to download. I never knew that until today. The way to get around it is apparently to get a membership and upload something of your own. I dont pay anything on scribd. Anyway, let me know want you want and I can either put it up on box or pdfcast, or I can try e-mailing it to you.

Rich said...

I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza, and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition, but some critics say that you didn't cite your sources clearly. What's your response to those kinds of charges?

Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing – it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell.


I'm working within my art form. It's that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It's called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.

Rich said...

I think the new album is incredible, by the way