Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Psycho killer/ qu’est que c’est?

Holiday reading recs are here, fresh from the Pogo laboratory. Save wear and tear on yr DVD player and read it up instead.

Saint Morrissey
Title is supposed to be in ref to Genet bio, but also picks up on Halperin's Foucault rehab. Whatevs, queer hagiographies all 'round. Mark Simpson outdoes himself here, offering up prose so sharp and fast and furious you're in love with both him and Moz by page 2. Doing a straight chrono Smiths-to-solo cakewalk would be too easy for him, so he takes side-jaunts into 60s kitchen sink drama, glam, Britpop ("Blur was the Kinks for students and confused teenage girls from Epson who mistook Damon Albarn for someone sexy"), James Dean, Oscar Wilde, Margaret Thatcher and working class fetishism. Best of all, he recognizes that any project of unequivocally outing Morrissey would only deflate the legacy of ambiguity that makes him so queerly excellent in the first place. He doesn't pin the butterfly to the wall, he observes its flight.

[In 'Sheila Take a Bow'] the identity and gender of the narrator, as in so many of Morrissey's songs, is not so much unclear as transcended, providing both the male and female listener with multiple points of identification, which is the key to the subtle, fecund richness of so many of Morrissey's lyrics; even subject and object naughtily refuse to follow convention and switch positions frequently, sometimes playing top, sometimes bottom.

Crazy Marie
Danish poet, feminist firestorm and populist provocateuse Kirsten Thorup is also the author of this bestest short story EVER (um, the "Franny" half of Franny & Zooey excepted) about a disenfranchised laundromat employee who kills her boss. It's only available here for now, but really--parachute, snowshoe and/or spelunk into yr nearest academic library to get yr xerox on, because it is that amazing.

For the most part, nothing more happened other than that they would lie there for an hour or so warming each other. He was impotent and always asked politely if she wanted him to satisfy her with his hands. But she didn't always feel like it. Then he would turn over onto his back and look up at the ceiling. The room was narrow, with a high ceiling, and the walls were a nougat-brown. When the door was shut, it was like lying in a cardboard box.

Punk Planet
I could swear I only just bought #50, like, this morning. But somehow they're already up to #70 now. It's their return to muckracking. Yes! Rake that scene-exploiting muck, PP! Get back to yr roots! Also, Hit It Or Quit It #18 is still ready, willing and orderable, stuffed full of reviews incisive enough to make Greil Marcus throw in his critical hankie.

Horses in toto
Caryn Rose's song-by-song report of recent Horses 30th anniversary reenactment at BAM:

I know these songs. I know them. They know me. I could draw a timeline of my life and show you where they fit in, where I first heard them, when I first understood them, when they took special meaning, when they hurt so much to hear I had to push them away for a little while.

Blogging genius
Mairead Case does it again. I am beginning to feel the need to put this woman on a 24-hour Pulitzer watch.

you talk about how you are trapped inside your body, how you want to claw out and away and up. everything comes back to the cold, to ways to die quickly and ways to do it slow. she is sleeping with you again, but it is okay because her mother has credit cards and a rental car; they are going to court soon.

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