Evidence

The physical world makes us exist in the form of molecules and language makes us human. Yet most of us don’t care that we understand language even less than we understand physics. It is a good proof that there is a God.

Side Effect

It was a huge gamble. Someone bet the life of a whole family. It was crazy. No-one is quite sure if it worked out.

They think they know why it happened. They think they control it. They take their medication daily, even though some of them think they don’t need it. Each of them responds to it quite differently. They seldom wonder about its function.

Turns out it went on for longer than they expected.

Turns out it was bigger than anyone would imagine. Someone told those chips quite clearly that it would be bad. “In fact, it is bad already”, he assured them. They recklessly moved on, the pictures burnt into their minds forever, but they still didn’t notice it. Perhaps they knew better. People are strange.

This is Amir Aharoni’s blog. I don’t really know what am i talking about, i am just an inspired side effect.

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Art Rock – A very long AllExperts answer

Someone asked me, as a Sonic Youth expert, for “a good definition of Art Rock”. My answer was very long of course. I’m quite proud of it. Here it is:

Hello,

“Art Rock” is a common name for an endlessly varied bunch of genres and artists, which are unified by the idea that the simple format of rock music — guitar, bass, drums, vocals — can be considered an expressive art form, just as well as classical music is and not only music for dancing and entertainment.

There are, as i said, many varieties of art rock. Consider the simplest case, the Beatles: they experimented with lyrics, and dared to write rock ‘n roll songs which were not about dancing or teen age love, such as “Paperback Writer” or “Taxman” and publish “Eleanor Rigby” as a rock song, while it was actually played by a symphonic orchestra. They have also quit playing live concerts for screaming young girls who cared more about their looks than about their music and proceeded to playing albums only.

The most bombastic kind of Art Rock, is of course the British “Progressive Rock”, with bands such as Genesis, ELP, King Crimson etc.; they were rock bands, but often played multi-part songs, sometimes more than 20 minutes long, they incorporated many elements of classical and folk music, plus they played their instruments particularly well and added keyboards, flutes, organs and other unusual instruments to the simple guitar-bass-drums base.

Sonic Youth presented a new kind of Art Rock. Their background was punk-rock, which, ironically, emerged as a reaction to the sometimes over-bombastic and self-indulgent aforementioned progressive rock, but soon developed into a different art form at its own right. For example, the New York punk singer Patti Smith used punk rock to deliver the poetry she wrote.

Sonic Youth decided that their innovation would be mainly in the kind of distorted noise that they incorporate in their songs. It actually makes sense, that their songs about confusion, violence, perversion, rebellion etc. should have a confusing and violent sound. They definitely didn’t have any intention of getting their songs played on the radio, but expressed their ideas in a totally independent form, which wasn’t encumbered by record companies.

Panic On the Streets of Pripiat’

Apparently The Smiths’ “Panic” was inspired by a British DJ who senselessly played a Wham song after the radio reported about the Chernobyl disaster. A few days ago Slashdot posted this link about Chernobyl. A shocking and devastating website, and an absolute must-see. The English is a little broken (which is interesting for me as a linguist), but the pictures mostly speak for themselves. Did i tell you that it is a must-see?

Panic On the Streets of Gaash

I went to a disco in Gaash last night with Hadar and her sister Ginat. I don’t like discotheques. It seems to me, at least subjectively, that there’s something very wrong in the concept of paying to enter some place with a lot of people you don’t know to dance to music you didn’t choose and drink free alcohol to forget that you don’t really enjoy the whole thing (unless of course it’s good alcohol, in which case you have to pay for it separately! Now talk about hospitality.)

Now Ginat, she really likes the concept of disco, and she likes that kind music (we’ll get to that later too.) And so does her husband. Hadar is less excited about the music, but she likes discos, she likes dancing. She’s begging me to come to a dance party with her for a very long time, so could i say no?

It’s not that if i wouldn’t have a girlfriend i would enjoy eyeing the girls (and no, if they would be more tastefully dressed it wouldn’t help either.)

And it’s not that the if the music would be to my taste, i’d feel better. It’s not just Ginat’s taste in music. Elad’s taste is closer to mine (rawk, yeah!), but i still don’t dig his passionate fascination with those nightclubs.

I like listening to music privately, intimately. In the car, on my headphones, on my stereo — but alone! Or with few people whom i know to enjoy it as much as i do. It’s very hard for me to listen to music with someone that doesn’t like it. It really scares me; i’m not interested in turning them on to my style. It’s my style and that’s the way i like it. But people like Ginat are sure that everyone likes the same music that they do, and i can’t blame them — they are the majority, after all. Although it does bother me that ever since 1994 or so, the music at the discos didn’t change at all. It used to be more dynamic before that. Oh, whatever.

What makes things even worse is that since i experienced the De La Guarda fiesta, it became even harder to impress. So ok, the party last night was pretty well organized, there were free drinks (to some extent), the sound was fine, the music was probably good for those who like that style, the place was clean and the security people were professional — they even had a female guard to check the girls, but what now? Is that all? Can’t i just mix myself drinks from my own booze and crank up 99FM radio and listen to exactly the same music for free (And God forbid — i don’t really want to)? I’m sorry, i give up, i just don’t get it.

Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ.