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Started by Mesh, May 15, 2003, 05:18:24 PM

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This is my Licorice Pizza nostalgia.




Quote from: wilder on December 28, 2021, 01:38:25 AMNSFW

"That the artist is not their art might well be the only rule of art-making; it's what grants permission to march across the borders and look back at your position in the universe with fresh perspective, it's what lends it critical power." – Lias Saoudi, Ten Thousand Apologies, p. 285

" There's a particularly grand moment at the end of the book where Nathan takes helm of Serfs Up! and confronts the band with the ideological contradiction in their lo-fi aesthetics, which by this point are costing them thousands of pounds to produce in a tailor-made studio. "Middle-class people make it sound like they're penniless," says Nathan. "They're emulating the sound of people who can't afford studios. Working-class people want music to sound polished and elegant...Cheap noise doesn't happen in hip-hop or grime. It's slick and futuristic. That's the record I want to make." (Elsewhere, Saul has glibly said his role in the Fat Whites was to make them sound less like a shit indie band and he failed.) It's deeply ironic that one of the most coherent cultural critiques in the book — and there are many, especially in Lias's sections — is dismissed by the bourgeois novelistic narrator as Nathan's "ketamine theorizing" that "only made sense to himself."

Because Nathan's critique of musical styles also applies to literary aesthetics. If Ten Thousand Apologies is dull and boring in parts, it's because middle-class people expect books to be dull and boring, or at least long and somewhat tedious – certainly not too colorful or exciting. You can have your sausages, but you must also eat your vegetables! Like grammar schools, literary style keeps the masses at arm's length.

It's a shame that a band who set out to offend bourgeois tastes as a pseudo-paramilitary group called Yuppies Out! and an album titled Champagne Holocaust have been so thoroughly co-opted into the stylistic palette of the nostalgia industry. Never mind the bollocks, here comes the artisan cupcake of storytelling, with its bourgeois narrator serving the Fat White Family in a style that makes them seem less offensive to the kind of people who go to Jamie Oliver and Alex James's music, wine and cheese-tasting festival.

Lias openly admits he now strives to cut a "slightly more reasonable figure in culture" with justifiable motives: "The fear of having to hobble into middle age trapped in penury, rapping at my non-existent front door." That's a quasi-Dickensian way of saying he knows where his bread is buttered. Unlike me, he knows not to bite the hand that feeds him, or at least give its five sweaty fingers a seductive lick while he's doing it.

Like me after reading his book, we both question whether we have wrecked our lives doing the thing we loved, or at least thought we loved. In my second without-consent appearance in Ten Thousand Apologies, I'm in the comedown party at the end of the Fat Whites' 2016 Songs for Our Mothers tour. To my mind, the band that started in the Queens Head pub over the road had completed its remarkable journey in a little over five years by selling out Brixton Academy. "Well that's that, what are you going to do now?" I said, and Lias cursed me from the bitterest depths of [his] heart. I remember that awkward moment after the Brixton Academy show, and I was even more of a downer than he recalls. I told him to walk away from the band, because the trajectory from there was almost certainly a downward spiral. Given how the third album turned out to be a banger, I was happy to be proven wrong, or at least premature in my estimation of the day the music died.

At the end of Lias's undeniably funny story, I came to appreciate the benefits of selling one's soul, and not just the money they give you for it. Art can be awfully heavy when you own all the rights to it. Every book or magazine from the publishing equivalent of my friends' punk band now feels like one too many, yet I seem unable to stop making them. Unlike the Fat White Family, who went semi-legit and can now draw a line under particular styles and antics, books stamped with the ominous bent-spoon logo have never been regarded as marketable commodities. So I don't yet have to choose whether I become a museum piece, I just get to envy the storage space. With no property, no paperwork, no staff, I'm livin' the goddam hippie dream with nothing to lose, how do I get away from it?" - Lev Parker


I just got that in the mail the other week!

Lias wrote a series of essays / journal entries during the pandemic beginning in April 2020, Life Beyond the Neutral Zone, which sort of chronicled his changing thoughts in step with the changing world.

I like this quote, from an interview elsewhere:

Quote from: Lias Saoudi"I really resent art that purports to be about saving humanity. Art is always about the artist saving himself. As far as I'm concerned, if you can't see a little bit of dirt on the artist's soul in what they are doing . . . I feel I am being lied to a little."


Oh, fuck yeah! Will definitely be reading Life Beyond the Neutral Zone.