Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024
Louis Althusser

I’m going to lump these two Tuesday items with Wednesday coz I didn’t have a lot of time for pop culture that day. Work is really taking its toll. I listened to a bit of Marxist Economist Richard Wolff being interviewed by Shahram Azhar on the Dialectic At Work, podcast. The episode was titled A Theoretical Rupture: Overdetermination and related Wolff’s rejection of economic determinism and his meeting with French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, among other things. I kept up till Richie went off on some seeming tangent about theory, and he lost me.

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On a less cerebral note, I also bought Australian seventies band Blackfeather’s At the Mountains of Madness cd and Thin Lizzy’s Are You Ready? Live dvd at the old Sight and Sound shop in Boronia near where I was working. The Blackfeather album is the one that has the truly excellent Seasons of Change on it. The liner notes relate how band leader, John Robinson, was inspired by the HP Lovecraft novella, but did not finish reading it because he found the writing style ‘too turgid’. Either way, I have not heard all of it yet, but I just know it’s some proggy psych goodness. The Lizzie dvd is from a concert they did at Germany’s Rockpalast in 1981, around the time I saw them at Festival Hall, Melbourne. The playlist is similar to what I witnessed, which was THE BEST CONCERT I’VE EVER SEEN.

I had thought these two items didn’t really share anything in common, apart from being rock bands, but I was wrong. One thing they have in common is both groups have members that sport magnificent Afro hairdos. Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy has a resplendent Afro, it is

The closest I ever got to a ‘fro

well known. But, if anything, Alexander Kash, the drummer with Blackfeather, sported an even hairier one. Very impressive. Once upon a time when I was a teenager and still had hair, I considered getting an Afro. A boy up the road had one and I was envious because it looked good, but I never did go through with it. I think part of the reason was, at that time in mid-70s, the Afro wave (like the blaxploitation movies that promoted it) was on its way out. Oh well. All these years later, I still love the ‘fro.

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I filled out a questionnaire for My Anime List’s ‘anisong survey’. There was a $50 Amazon giftcard in the offing, but I did it because I like doing these things. I was interested in what the questions were, and welcomed the opportunity to think about my responses to these things. Here’s the form they sent me and my responses.

mal survey

I was a bit bemused by the question ‘If you could attend an event related to your favourite anime, what sort of event would you want it to be?’ One of the possibilities offered was ‘Immersion into the anime’s universe’. Talk about whimsical! Of course I chose it as one of my answers, because who wouldn’t want to be a part of their favourite anime? I guess you wouldn’t choose a dystopia like Ghost In the Shell, but many of the happier settings would be tempting. For mine it would probably have to be the world of Urusei Yatsura. I want to hang out with Lum in her spaceship. Even that baka Ataru could come along. And if Benten just happened to show up that would be the icing on the cake!

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Speaking of which…I started reading Vol 12 of my newly-bought Urusei Yatsura manga. The two-part story Asuka Returns is funny, inventive and wonderful. It begins with mangaka Rumiko’s narration: ‘The Mizuno-Koji residence is faced with a terrible dilemma. It is so awful one might hesitate to mention it…or even to draw it.’ The dilemma in question is that Asuka, a young woman from a wealthy family, has amorous feelings for her brother (and the way this is expressed in the panels that Rumiko dares to draw it have to be seen to be believed). Having lived a very sheltered life, the only man she has known is her brother, and she fears all other men. So her mother sends her on an errand to the school of her promised fiance, Mendo, in hopes it will bring her out of her shell. In classic Urusei style, things quickly get out of control, so that Asuka eventually falls for Ryunosuke, a girl who looks like a man. Rumiko excels in absurdist farce that’s so funny, but it’s hard to convey in words.

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The new Twice song, Dive, has come out and I watched the music video many times, as is my want. This is the title track of their new Japanese album. First impressions are it’s yet another pleasant summery vibe (it is summer over there) with a pronounced disco beat. It’s probably not as big a bop as the last Japanese single Hare Hare was but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like it. The vocal distribution seems much more balanced than with previous songs, although Nayeon still seems to get some of the choicest lines. The music video has the members in a fantasy forest scenario, not unlike what they did with More and More. There are harps and pools and what must be a lake in the background. At one point Tzuyu is seen swimming up to the surface, The water theme was inevitable with a title like that. There’s a bit where Jeongyeon and Dahyun whisper the lyrics to each other that I feel will be deemed meme-worthy down the track. It’s too early to tell how I really feel about the song and video, but I’m happy to just float in the pool and catch the vibes for now.

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There seems to be some overlap between the new Twice product and Nayeon’s solo effort. I also watched her week 2 comeback video on Youtube. It’s livelier than week 1 was, which was largely a compilation of mukbangs between Nayeon and her managers. This time she’s visited by most of her bandmates, including Momo and Mina, then Chaeyoung and Tzuyu, then Sana, then Jeongyeon. Momo and Mina, in similar outfits with baseball caps, joined Nayeon in a dance challenge that for me was the highlight.

 

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