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In Search Of The Next

(Jabbering about futurity to my email journal, 2 March 2005:)

So, while some fuckwit was spoofing my account, I was laying in bed scratching my immense testicles and thinking about the New.

Last night I watched a bit of an old documentary about rave culture, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CIRCUITRY, wherein Genesis P-Orridge talks about putting together his pseudonymous early acid house project, Jack The Tab.

I was amused to note that the label on the first pressing had a John Byrne Superman drawing on it. Hard to imagine anyone less acid than John Byrne.

Old Genesis — then in the early days of his self-transformation into a hermaphrodite, looking and sounding like a posh middle-aged English housewife — was talking about the zeitgeist of 86-88, when acid house was starting to happen. Kind of existing as a massive potential charge in ideaspace/the superflow. He talked about how people were seeming to converge on the ideas from different places. He could see the future forming in front of him.

And then we were off. Acid house, rave culture, indie-dance, cyberdelic culture, all that.

Which brings me back to rainy March 2005. With retro-rock, “nu-metal”, electroclash and a handful of other mini-movements rotting in the street. Indie-folk is waving its tankard of carrot juice somewhere in the background, to the hideous howl of Joanna Newsome fucking a harp with a potato.

In any given place and time, there’s a bunch of little movements. Behind the splash of acid, there was also the best guitar music ever in ’88, for instance. With culture more fractured than it’s ever been, it only makes sense that there’d be more mini-movements than great groundswells. And, you know, it’s entirely possible that Devendra Banhart has enough things in common with Connor Oberst that we are in fact on a journey into the future that ends in a bedroom stinking of cheap beer and incense with tear-stained wankrags under the bed and a copy of Johnathan Livingstone Seagull on the floor.

But it doesn’t feel new, does it?

People like cLOUDDEAD and MOP are getting some new noises out of hip-hop, dance is still throwing out new mutations every few months, I love the surreal cabaret of the Dresden Dolls, the Nervous Cabaret and The Tigerlilies (who have been around forever), 8-bit Game Boy electro is still developing…

But, see, part of my job is divining the future. And I find myself almost missing those simpler days — perhaps pre-internet days? — when you could feel the place humming with the presentiment of a convergent temporary future.

Music is very quick to make, which is why it tends to signpost the future. Jack The Tab was nailed
down in two days. There’s really only one mass-communication artform that works at a similar
speed.

And that’s comics.

Published in brainjuice

One Comment

  1. […] Mr. Ellis is a scary man, and I often don’t want to follow his line of thought (when he says “don’t look”, you damn well don’t want to look), but every few days he comes up with a gem. Today he’s ranting about music: Indie-folk is waving its tankard of carrot juice somewhere in the background, to the hideous howl of Joanna Newsome fucking a harp with a potato. […]

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