Grafters

At college, I’m constantly having to stop myself over-researching, getting swamped by the flood of books and articles there are on each essay subject. For the literary theory module, I’m thinking of choosing the question on ‘how is literature gendered‘. And of course there’s just no end to the amount of materials one can consult  - from Virginia Woolf through to Judith Butler and all points in between. I often stand in the college library and stare at the many shelves full of books about Woolf alone, and just think: there’s so much work that’s been done. Other people are so productive. I compare this to feeling too tired when I wake, to feeling too tired when I get back from class. It seems so wrong to feel tired full stop when made aware of the work of others – such a sin not to spend every waking moment making new stuff.

Watched a BBC documentary on David Hockney’s new show, which I’m going to later this week. His constant trying out of new ideas and new technology is inspiring – painting with an iPad, experimenting with multi-camera films. He even builds a doll’s house model of the Royal Academy in order to hang his latest show.

Another old timer, Woody Allen, quietly won the best Original Screenplay Oscar this week, for Midnight In Paris. Again, he just carries on doing new work, one film every year, and sometimes it’s not so great and sometimes it wins an Oscar.

In music, I was thinking one prolific grafter who just carries on would have to be Mark E Smith, with The Fall. But I’ve just realised that even his 29 albums are nothing compared to Billy Childish’s various incarnations – 140 albums and counting.

There’s so much to read, to watch, to see. In London, more so. The sheer choice of culture, versus the limited time and energy one has to spend on it, makes one weigh up all kinds of variables when deciding what to do with one’s consumption time. Isn’t it about time I had a go at Proust? But I still haven’t seen The Artist!

(What is it I like again? Everything! No – nothing! Oh, I always get those two confused…)

I actually find myself pleased when some live attractions turn out to be unavailable or just too expensive. Concerts, for instance. It seems the more people expect music to be free on the internet, the more they crave the physical experience of concerts, perhaps in a kind of analogue off-set. And once they feel the urge to go to an event, they have to work out how much they’re prepared to pay for it.

There’s been a documentary and ensuing furore about the way ticket agencies rip-off customers with ludicrously elevated prices. Here’s an interesting blog post on the subject:

http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/blogs/secondary-ticket-agencies-the-great-rock-n-roll-swindle/

It made me wonder if some people were really prepared to pay over £600 to see Pulp. The Viagogo agency seems to think so.

In my case, I was lucky enough to see Pulp several times in the 90s, along with Blur, Oasis, Suede, MBV, and the Pixies. But the box-ticking aspect aside, my urge to go to big concerts has dwindled regardless. Because I’m usually by myself, I find it hard to connect with the crowd experience. I’m too acutely aware of being by myself, or being my age, wondering if this night out was a good idea after all, or I just can’t stop thinking about the act of being in the audience, and what that means. Either that, or my taste has just changed (it’s probably more to do with that).

But there are still things I want to go to. One event I was quite excited to hear about this week was of Alan Bennett doing a talk at Cecil Sharp House. I managed to get a ticket online before they sold out.

Ticket price: £10. Plus 50p postage. And it includes a glass of wine.

Admittedly, the evening will be less of a visual spectacle than, say, a Take That gig. And with rather fewer dance routines. Though one never knows.


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