Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’ve been thinking about analogies, metaphors etc for gender/s/non-gender/s, ways that I can describe how I know I am agender and that can be used to apply to people who have gender as well, and I’ve come up with an idea. It’s better when I’m saying it out loud because I use hand gestures, although it would be best on a drumkit.

So basically, I was assigned one of the binary genders. That, throughout my life, has been a bass drum coming from outside of my own head going bang-bang-bang-bang. However, if I was my assigned gender, I would have had a cymbal inside my head going crash-crash-crash-crash in time with the bass drum. Being agender, the cymbal isn’t there.

Perhaps the other binary gender assignation is bang–bang–bang–bang – the bass drum is being played at a different tempo. So that would mean that if you were assigned one and were the other, the two beats – cymbal and bass – would be out of sync with each other. And non-binary gender/s/non-gender/s would have different rhythms again. Genderfluid people’s cymbals would change tempo, or there might even be more than one tempo going at the same time. Some people might have different parts of the drumkit inside their head – some folks with very little gender might have just a metronome instead of a cymbal, for example.

However, you can’t consciously change the tempo of your cymbal, although some folks’ cymbals change naturally – mirroring the fact that we can’t change our gender/s/non-gender/s. The bass drum can change its pace if society recognises us for who we are and accommodates us.

This metaphor would also encompass why cis folks can often claim that they don’t believe in gender and don’t have an innate gender. The cymbal crashes from inside have been drowned out by the bass drum of the birth assignation, and because the two sync up they can’t tell that they’ve got the cymbal there unless they think about it. But for non-cis folks, the discrepancy between the bass drum and the cymbal would make it painfully obvious that they were both there.

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Auld Lang Syne

Posted: December 31, 2010 in Music
Tags: , ,

Okay, I couldn’t get this to embed, but I’ll just link to Youtube.

For those of you celebrating the New Year tonight, here’s Auld Lang Syne being performed by Girlschool. It’s my favourite track by far on that CD, even when there is a doom version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen on there being performed by a band that included Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi.

Been interested in the initial results of the 1000 Genomes Project that have recently been published. Apparently we all have 250-300 variations that can mean a loss of function, including 75 that have already been implicated in inherited diseases. The results show that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ genome and therefore, by definition, ‘imperfect’ ones. (I got about half my information from today’s Times, so some of what I say may not be included on the link.)

If there is no such thing as an ‘imperfect’ genome, then where does that leave the idea of normalcy? Right in the gutter, that’s where. And then where does that leave the idea of abnormality? In the very same place. We are all just another manifestation of the infinite spectrum of human diversity.

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In unrelated news, JKBC has a new bass amp ( a gift… I love my family), which ze won’t get for another week and a bit. Line 6 and it sounds great! Loads and loads of effects and miscellaneous coolness, so perhaps my internet use will go down… or maybe not. Haven’t been playing much recently because of the terrible amp I have now – I knew I shouldn’t have let anyone run a noise synth through it…

Well done, Ozz. Westboro Baptist Church do not deserve to misuse music for their despicable cause. Crazy Train is a great piece of music – with a political message – and it is wrong that WBC decided to use it without permission for the purpose of hate.

And, get this – some of the lines of the original lyrics is maybe / it’s not too late / to learn how to love / and forget how to hate. A message of love and acceptance – how the hell did they think it was appropriate to pair it with made-up lines like you’re going straight to hell on your crazy train? And just how deluded are they, to think it’s appropriate to any of their causes?

Blast them out of the fucking water, Ozzy, please. You are in the right.

(thanks to Shakesville for alerting me)

The Final Frontier

Posted: September 26, 2010 in Music, Pop Culture
Tags: , ,

Time for something a little more light-hearted. I do a lot of ranting.

A month or so after it came out (and three weeks or so after I bought it) I finally got around to listening to The Final Frontier, Iron Maiden’s latest. Now, to put this in perspective, I’ve disliked basically everything they’ve done for the last decade, wasn’t too fussed on the decade before – I adore their 80s stuff though. They used to be on my top ten bands thing, and if they’d broken up in about 1990 they probably still would be. There’s some things I like since then, but few.

I found it a bit like the Curate’s Egg; parts of it were excellent. There were moments when I was leaping around frantically playing air bass and screaming FUCK YEAH! IRON MAIDEN ARE BACK! and then there were moments when I flopped back into my chair and said, blurg, quit it already with these indistinguishable wimpy intros and boring old gallop.

To put things more concisely, if you want the spirit of 80s Maiden, get the White Wizzard album. They have a severe case of Maidenwannabeitis, and they make it work.

Just read an opinion piece by Janice Turner in the Times about the idea of pornification as universal empowerment and how screwed up it is. (I use articles as sparking points for my own ideas; this isn’t a commentary, this is my opinion.) She makes the interesting point that many parents are seeing it as a phase, as a fashion akin to grunge or punk.

I can see where this idea is coming from, if indeed people are thinking of it like this. Every generation comes up with a fashion statement that their parents disapprove of, and it does indeed seem like, for girls, this porny image is my generation’s. But look at how pervasive it is. I don’t think that ever before a fashion aesthetic has permeated to this degree; for those who identify as girls or are seen as girls, there is very little escape from the relentless fashion for tits’n’ass (and the sexual objectification, assumption of sexual availability and all the rest of the stuff that goes along with it).

Look at the ‘alternative’ subcultures. Women in metal. Hyper-femininity. Breasts always on show. Makeup. Conventional beauty standards. A lot of legs. Perhaps less of an ass mentality than some areas of music, but the same old slim thing. That’s not alternative. That’s mainstream with more black and awesome music. (I’m a metalhead… doesn’t mean I approve of everything under the metal banner, though.) The idea of a punk girl is mainstream but with more anarchy symbols, unusual hairdye colours and ripped clothes. Ditto virtually every youth subculture that contests the mainstream. There are small scenes that aren’t that… but they’re rare. And of course, in all these scenes, there are the women who defy all that; White Skull are a band that stands out as a metal band with a kickass metal singer and frontperson who just so happens to be a woman.

I’m not contesting that many of the women who present in this way in music and pop culture do find it empowering… but I’m also wondering how many of them see only women who present this way getting success and emulate it for the good of their careers. And then there’s very little recourse for girls to find role models and heroines who aren’t like this, so they may take on board the message that the only way to be a woman is to be like this.

So no. It’s not ‘just a trend, just a phase.’ It’s a full-blown bloody cultural emergency.

This (yes, another BBC news link, it’s useful for the basics of information) is interesting. I don’t particularly like the idea of being prescribed music, but I know for a fact this works. It would, however, have to be tailored to the individual – for example, my mother feels happier when listening to Gogol Bordello, but they don’t work for me (most heavy bands that don’t play doom, thrash, death or black metal, however, do).

I use music for this purpose a lot. Last term, when I was walking in the mornings, I used to listen to glam metal on my way up. Why? Well, it helped me walk faster and made me feel more energetic and awake (seriously, though, Kiss at eight o’clock in the morning is kinda weird). These days, I get a lift and they listen to pop music in the car, presumably for the same reason (doesn’t help me, but I can deal with it).

I also use it… when everything else has failed. When the screen is cold and hostile and I don’t feel able to talk to the people I’m close to and my bass is no comfort and I can’t write it all out, I listen to Smoke on the Water (Made in Japan version – if you think you know Smoke and you don’t know this, you don’t know Smoke), followed by Smooth Dancer, either Highway Star or Space Truckin’ and then anything else that comes up on Deep Purple menu shuffle. Almost three years ago I first heard that version of Smoke, and it helped me then to find a new meaning in life (to ROCK!) It still saves me now.

And I know I’m not the only one with similar experiences. Sometimes it’s not a happy song that does it, but frankly… if it works, don’t knock it.