Brecht is full of love

For all men are agreed that today the "discontinuity" of personality is a fact. Whether this "discontinuity" takes the form of "alienation", "self division", discord between the "id", the "ego" and the "super ego", or between the "unconscious" or "subconscious" and the "conscious", thinkers of all schools are united in their assertion that the contradictions between human aspirations and goals and their fulfillment within our social system have become sharpened to the point of explosion.

(Brecht in Germany, The Epic Theater)


"Avionazo en Coahuila"

La Jornada, México 07/07/2008
foto Reuters



Jazz presumes that it might be nice if the four of us, while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best we can only be free one or two at a time, while the other dudes hold onto the wire.

Rock and roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us -- as damaged and as anti-social as we are -- might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can't. The song's too simple, and we're too complicated and excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, whether we want it to or not. Thus we create this hurricane of noise, this finitely complicated fractal filigree of delicate distinctions.

I mean look at the Stones. Keith Richards is always on top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock and roll. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we're trying to be free and are in fact together. And rock and roll works because we're all a bunch of flakes. That's something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the Twentieth Century that's all there is: jazz and rock and roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.

Dave Hickey