Anodyne
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
 
I Want a Name When I Lose

"Mr. Becker: The protagonist in 'Deacon Blues' is a triple-L loser—an L-L-L Loser. It’s not so much about a guy who achieves his dream but about a broken dream of a broken man living a broken life.

Mr. Fagen: The concept of the 'expanding man' that opens the song ['This is the day of the expanding man / That shape is my shade there where I used to stand'] may have been inspired by Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man. Walter and I were major sci-fi fans. The guy in the song imagines himself ascending the levels of evolution, 'expanding' his mind, his spiritual possibilities and his options in life.

Mr. Becker: His personal history didn’t look like much so we allowed him to explode and provided him with a map for some kind of future.

Mr. Fagen: Say a guy is living at home at his parents’ house in suburbia. One day, when he’s 31, he wakes up and decides he wants to change the way he struts his stuff.

Mr. Becker: Or he’s making a skylight for his room above the garage and when the hole is open he feels the vibes coming in and has an epiphany. Or he’s playing chess games against himself by making moves out of a book and cheating.

A mystical thing takes place and he’s suddenly aware of his surroundings and life, and starts thinking about his options. The 'fine line' we use in the song ['So useless to ask me why / Throw a kiss and say goodbye / I’ll make it this time / I’m ready to cross that fine line'] is the dividing line between being a loser and winner, at least according to his own code. He’s obviously tried to cross it before without success."
Sunday, September 06, 2015
 

 

Reading:

Ross MacDonald's entire Lew Archer series, in chronological order

Fritz Novotny, Cezanne and the End of Scientific Perspective

Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography
 

"California City is one of a number of desert towns that struggles to maintain its existence in the face of broader economic hardships. Incorporated in 1965, it lays claim to being the third largest city in California by geographical size but has never come close to fulfilling that potential. Most of the residents provide the workforce for nearby Edwards Air Force Base, with others employed by the nearby prison and vehicle proving grounds. Vast areas of the city are composed of dirt roads and crumbling pavement laid out in regular grids for a population that never quite materialized. Most of the 11,000 residents that aren't institutionalized (more than 2,000 official residents are prison inmates, mostly illegal immigrants) fit into a two-mile square area around the golf course and lake that was intended to be the centerpiece of a magnificent desert city that just can't seem to gain traction. It doesn't help that it is more than five miles from any of the three major highways that go through the area (SR14, SR58, US395) - you actually need a purpose to find your way to California City."
 

JW, Property Line, 2015

From a lengthy & detailed Wall Street Journal profile of the artist.

Weirdly a lay-up, because I have stood at this particular desert intersection twice, and climbed the right-hand peak at rear once.  Not so far from Lancaster CA in the northern Antelope Valley, where I've spent two weeks in the past two years, trying hard, but largely unsuccessfully, to make smallish black and white pictures of emergent desert modernity.  Blame Zappa and David Hockney!

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