German Book Office editors trip (& a look at Adorno’s library)

Many thanks to the German Book Office New York for inviting Repeater to take part in its international editor’s trip to Berlin and Frankfurt. Repeater publisher, Tariq Goddard, joined Henry Carrigan (Northwestern University Press, USA), Giovanni Carletti (Editoria Laterza, Italy), Mikhail Kotomin (Ad Marginem Press, Russia), Marc Lowenthal (MIT Press, USA), Niels Cornelissen (Uotgeverij Boom, Netherlands), Marcos de Miguel (Plaza y Valdés, Spain) and Ken Wissoker (Duke University Press, USA) on the trip, where they met with German publishers, editors and booksellers to discuss trends in philosophy and non-fiction publishing.

Here’s Tariq in front of Adorno’s blackboards (his library apparently includes Arthur Conan Doyle, HP Lovecraft, Evelyn Waugh and James Baldwin)  Continue reading German Book Office editors trip (& a look at Adorno’s library)

Time Lapses… an extract from Robert Barry’s The Music of the Future

Time Lapses

“…indifferent to the future…”

After consuming a Ritz cracker, two Valiums, half a can of Tab, and one weak, vodka-based cocktail, a girl named Karen slips into a coma one Friday night in 1979. eighty minute hour
Seventeen years later she wakes up and the world has changed. The novel, Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland, from 1998, shares its basic outline with the classic tale of Rip Van Winkle – or, for that matter, a great deal of the nineteenth century’s futurist literature: L’an 2440, Looking Backwards, The News from Nowhere, and countless others. But Karen doesn’t wake up in utopia. The contradictions of capitalism have not resolved themselves in her sleep. If anything, they have got worse.

“I’m not sure I completely like the new world,” she confesses to her friend Hamilton. “The whole world is only about work: work work work get get get … racing ahead … getting sacked from work … going online … knowing computer languages … winning contracts. I mean, it’s just not what I would have imagined the world might be if you’d asked me seventeen years ago. People are frazzled and angry, desperate about money, and, at best, indifferent to the future.” In the seventeen years she spent asleep, something disappeared from the world as she sees it, “‘meaning’ had vanished”.[i]

When I was at university, in the first years of the twenty-first century, it was considered practically a given that music could have no intrinsic meanings. A piece of music may be meaningful to you, or to specific social groups, in certain contexts, under certain conditions, but it does not in itself bear meaning. This notion, of music as mere “form moving in sound,” was not original when the critic Eduard Hanslick so phrased it in the midst of the 19th century’s war of the romantics. In fact, we can trace the idea at least as far back as Adam Smith’s essay, ‘Of the Nature of that Imitation which takes place in what are called the Imitative Arts’, first thrashed out in the years immediately after the publication of The Wealth of Nations made him the prophet of free market capitalism. Continue reading Time Lapses… an extract from Robert Barry’s The Music of the Future

Dawn Foster demolishing the arguments for free schools in the London Review of Books

In the May 7th issue of the LRB, Dawn Foster demolished the arguments in favour of free schools. In particular, she highlighted how huge amounts of public money has, in some cases, been spent setting up free schools in areas where there is no lack of school places: 

“There is no requirement that free school founders have experience of running a school, and no assessment is made as to whether the prospective founders will be able to meet the legally required standards of school governance.

In effect, this means that any group of parents who believe there is a need for a new school can club together and apply to set it up. Successful applicants have argued that there is a local need for Steiner schools, German schools, and schools that follow Montessori or Maharishi principles. An application to set up a Scientology school was unsuccessful. The ‘need’ for a new school isn’t necessarily based on an assessment of the number of school places available in a given area, but on parental choice and a clamouring for individualism in state-funded education. Petitions often suffice. One academy chain putting forward an application to start a free school in Doncaster offered potential pupils £500 to sign up: other free schools have offered iPads and bicycles… Continue reading Dawn Foster demolishing the arguments for free schools in the London Review of Books

Experimental noise school for kids returns to East London

The brilliant Cafe Oto are hosting Future Music, a series of experimental music workshops for kids in their project space this summer. No previous musical experience or knowledge is required, and all equipment/instruments provided. All the workshops are now booked up, but it’s an excellent project which recalls the Shoreditch Experimental Music School of the late 1960 – the subject of this BBC documentary:

For London-based adults feeling left out, there’s also a one-off School of Noise evening workshop at The Social on 29th June

 “Stop being afraid” – Jam City and radical politics in dance music

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Listen to Jam City’s NTS mix

I have zero time for the common refrain of middle-aged music journalists, “why is there no political music nowadays?”. It’s a question that’s lazy at best and disingenuous at worst. But, if I was going to bother to reply to someone asking that this week, I’d just ping them a link to any of Jam City’s recent interviews (if examples from rock were needed, see also Algiers or Perfect Pussy). Here’s a couple of recent excerpts:

From Complex magazine, in April:

Dream A Garden is a statement album, telling stories about emotional fallouts in the neoliberal world, the same world depicted by Classical Curves with its glossy images of luxury possessions. Is Classical Curves, Dream A Gardenbut with a certain cynicism?
Yes, absolutely. In the past, I’ve been fascinated and repulsed by the glossy surface of neoliberal capitalism: luxury products, useless electronic. But after a while, you realise that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Dream A Garden is about learning to situate those luxury images within a larger context of violence, exploitation, and depression…. Continue reading  “Stop being afraid” – Jam City and radical politics in dance music