Why I don’t run after trams

When I’ve crossed a road I often get the sensation that I’ve been run over. I have to look back over my shoulder to see if my mangled body isn’t lying in the street somewhere, with skidmarks leading up to and over it.

It’s a very odd feeling; Unfortunately, the only illustration of this is the scene from ghost where Sam runs after the guy who stabbed him, only to look back at his girlfriend leaning over his dead body.

What this leads up to is me telling you not to run for trams or busses or trains or whatever. My friend Þora had the great misfortune to combine running with Gothenburg, which at this time of year consists of ice, gravel and a blistering cold. She slipped, hit her head on the curb and briefly passed out.

She knocked her head quite badly in the fall, and we’re still waiting to see what the consequences will be (ie, surgery or no surgery). Right now she has a splitting headache, feels rather sad and annoyed about the state of things, and looks like she tried to read aloud the biography of Malcom X at a klan-rally.

I went over to the hospital to help her home, and next to the receptionist there, there were these pamphlets informing about scabs, blisters, ticks, incontinence, acne and thirty other odds and ends on the failing of the human body. The pamphlets about depression were the only ones that were out of stock.

When I ate happy-happy pills a while ago I did some research into how many people in Sweden are on these pills, and even though I can’t recall the number right now I was very surprised. It’s like one in every twenty persons or somesuch. What the hell is wrong with us? Is life in this gray country so miserable? Are more people concerned with taking pamphlets about depression rather than the common cold?

I’m imagining a gov run program in a couple of years time entitled “don’t worry, be happy.” The subtitle of this program would be if you really can’t be happy, take these pills and make sure you’re still contributing to society by staying in your depression-inducing workplace, and don’t kill yourself before you’ve payed off your student loans. Of course, such a program would be doomed to cause instant depression in at least half the population, spreading mental illness across the globe and ending civilization as we know it.

MateuszWhy I don’t run after trams

The 13 virtues of Benjamin Franklin

I’ve never known much about Benjamin Franklin, and frankly (yes, another pün) still don’t. boingboing.net had an item about him today, and how he compiled a list of 13 virtues which he tried to live by – each day ticking off what he’d done wrong.

ben franklin

I thought the idea was cute, and it fits very well into my own obsessive list-making. So of course I had to make one myself.
He lists chastity as one of the virtues (as he puts it “rarely use venery but for health or offspring“) and I really don’t agree on that, but am in fact abiding by that rule by default, which of course just goes to show how the remaining years of my no-i’m-not-thirty-yet!-age are going to waste…

Anywho. I made three different versions of it, and they are all here:

1 Pdf for 1 week (233kb)

2 Same as above, but I’ve crammed three weeks onto one sheet (300kb)

3 And this one is slightly different, with four columns on one page, more intended to be pasted into a A5-sized notebook or somesuch (237kb). Also, it doesn’t contain the definitions of the virtues.

And you could of course grab all three of the above by downloading all three pdfs in one zip-file (616kb)

MateuszThe 13 virtues of Benjamin Franklin

Ideas for site specific work

Spread flyers and posters just to create confusion/enlightenment.

Something along these lines:

“Learn the truth about human nature! Meet up for a short and enlightening evening concerning humanity – Why are we unhappy and sad, and how does it relate to the way the world is today. Meet new people and enjoy our complimentary coffee and snacks!”

And of course point it to a non-existing place. Not sure if I should document this or not – Seems like too much work, and I’m nothing if not lazy.

MateuszIdeas for site specific work

Sound course: Coarse sounds in my head.

I missed the last week of the sound course, and this week we’re back at HDK – I missed the first half hour and never got the name of the Stockholmian chap that was presenting his work. It had something to do with creating sounds for commercial installations (think event-based marketing and added consumer experience stuff).

This could all have been fine and well; It’s always interesting to hear how advertising agencies make us drool like oh so many retarded Pavlovian dogs. Problem is that we’re supposed to do something as well. Which is the point in the lecture where I dart off (in the cover of lunch – I am still rather polite about things. or, well, i try) to buy sushi and write this post.

Except some odds and ends I doodled in the notebook, i also did this.

Don’t know if the sound that my lonely felt pens made in the silent classroom counts towards an performative sound art installation, but give me a day or two an I’ll draw up a theory around it. Or not, it would be rather boring.

Anywho. The people in the class are nice enough, and the course description is nice enough, but I can’t get my head around what the hell I’m supposed to do. On one hand, I like the freedom to do whatever I’m interested in, on the other hand I’m not interested in working with other people. Seriously, it’s nothing personal (most often i should add. some people are just idiots) I’m just not cut out to brainstorm in a group to come up with an idea of lowest common denominator.

MateuszSound course: Coarse sounds in my head.

Party party

Here’s my theory on having fun. If you’re trying too hard, you’re not going to succeed because your expectations are way up high in the collage-movie-stage of fun.

We had some people over in the studio last weekend, and even though all were nice and such, there was this anticipation in the air. It took two minutes for someone to react even when I put on some Mochipet, and I had done it out of spite (I do like Mochipet very much, but most of the people I hang around don’t appreciate his music. Not at a party anyway). That’s how distracted people were.

Sexual frustration is a big thing at context & media right now. Most people are engaged in oral sex all the time, and it’s getting to me. (Yes, this is a so called pun, and by oral sex I mean that they are talking about sex a lot. I lifted this pun from Terry Pratchett, who is talking to me all my waking hours thanks to the never-ending supply of his audiobooks on the pirate bay.)

Way too much to do. Managed to get some filming done a week ago, and had a three-dee course as well (jhezuz it’s a mess to play with 3 dimensions). I’ll be posting some pics of the masterpieces I put together. Or maybe not, they were kinda crap.

MateuszParty party

A funny

I was browsing this page when I found this animation. It really made me laugh…

MateuszA funny

Sound art, performance, perserverence and endurance

My new years resolution (Technically, I came up with this a couple of days later, when Anna asked if she should sign me up for a reality tv show) was to say yes to things rather than my hitherto standard replies no, hell no and the occasional how much would you pay me to perform that?.

So I joined some of my newly made friends from the sound course to Musikens hus here in Gothenburg to watch three bands have an improv night.

I’ve always had the nagging suspicion that “improv night” meant “you have to be a musician to enjoy this, ’cause ours is a music for the brains, and you have an oh so tiny brain”. I wasn’t totally proven wrong.

I came in late for the first group, a three man jazz combo that played with a lot of umpfh. The band after that was called ‘Boogie’ (what’s the matter with the bad taste in naming things here in Gothenburg? Two days ago I listened to a classical music quartett called Kvart i ett which is a pün or play on words, meaning ‘a quarter to one’ and sounding like ‘kvartett’! Don’t your sides just split in despair over this?) and consisted of a drummer and a singer (and assorted bells and whatnots). When they didn’t improvise it sounded kinda like Coco rosie, which is double-plus good, and when they improvised it sounded like improvisation and bells and whatnots, which is un-good.

Anywho. It was nice and my simple mind could appreciate the beats and the singing. Short break, I go smoke, finish my beer and sit back down, and listen to 25 minutes of this:


And this sort of combined three elements of stuff I really can’t deal with:
* Performance
* Live show
* Experimental sound art

I don’t like performances on principle. It has something to do with my gut reaction of “what the hell made you think this was a good idea and how come no-one stopped you?“. Then again, I can’t watch embarrassing moments on TV either, so it’s probably just me being squeamish and such.

I don’t like concerts ’cause it’s so seldom that the music coincides with my fancy at the moment (When I’m sulking, I’d like to have Nick Cave standing by, but at other times I probably wouldn’t appreciate him as much), so most often I’m just not in the mood.

Finally, I’ve listened enough to experimental sound art to know that what they were doing had been done in the 70s and was abandoned because after the dust settled all you were left with was a bunch of noise that could only be appreciated while on drugs or heavy theoretical academia. Yes some people can probably relate to it. Yes it sorta pushing the boundries of how we interpret sounds and musical narration.

It’s just not very interesting. And it really doesn’t matter that those who are playing are very talented within their fields – There are a whole bunch of people who are really good at what they are doing, but what they are doing is shit.

Anywho. The three bands are going on tour. They hit Oslo next, and then Stockholm.

MateuszSound art, performance, perserverence and endurance