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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:35 pm 
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diogenesagogo wrote:
the drive for any artist stems from internal motives & no amount of wishing to produce it intellectually will work.

The way you put it is interesting and, as I say, I see where you’re coming from. You remind me of something Diamanda Galás once said in one of her lucid moments about the difference between needing to speak and wanting to speak. But it was a distinction which I gave up on, partly because Galás herself has become such a poor example of it, stifling her texts in vocal and musical pyrotechnics until they don’t communicate anything much at all, at least to me. I contrast PJ with her, and with another artist I love, Kate Bush, in whose work, however Gothic it may have got at times, never betrayed any sense of discontent with the world. With Polly you certainly got that discontent, that disturbance, wherever it may have come from, and I’m impressed by the fact that she’s never given that up. Of course it no longer comes from inside her: she’s a mature, solvent, healthy individual, with a personal life under control (whatever it actually is), and surrounded by love and public adulation. To try to wring some discontent out of that would, as you say, just produce parody, and I think there were indeed a couple of songs from the Uh Huh Her era which edged in the self-pastiche direction. Instead that endless urge towards discontent, towards the troubled and jagged edges of human experience, leads her elsewhere. And – as you also say – this is only one phase. She could quite easily only be half-way through a fifty-year career. She talked back in 2007 about ‘being on a lifelong journey to explore what it means to be human through music’. All we can be confident of is, I suspect, that she’ll do something we don’t expect.

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... Reeling ... classical influences

Scandalously I’ve never actually seen Reeling! PJ did name-check Arvo Part at one stage, didn’t she? I wonder whether it isn’t easier to maintain at least the impression of being in touch with something dark and deep inside you within the classical idiom: you have a bigger and more flexible musical palette to work with, and can do things like score operas with outlandish and hysterical plots which positively compel you in the direction of extremity, without anyone batting an eyelid.

And Arvo Part raises a lot of interesting and contradictory questions. He fled twelve-tone composing because he felt it was cold, intellectual and out of touch with the human roots of music; but he eventually fled towards Eastern and Western chant, which is the most unemotional form of music you can imagine. So – if I was being mischievous – I’d say that that lovely, serene piece you linked to is the absolute polar opposite of the restless discontent of early Polly.

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a thoughtful appreciation

And for yours. I almost certainly do too much thinking about this, actually, but it's agreeable to have some distraction from the world at the moment!


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:02 am 
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AineteEkaterini wrote:
actually, but it's agreeable to have some distraction from the world at the moment!

Agreed :down:

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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:02 pm 
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AineteEkaterini wrote:
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So – if I was being mischievous – I’d say that that lovely, serene piece you linked to is the absolute polar opposite of the restless discontent of early Polly.


It's certainly the polar opposite, but I suspect that's because it comes from a different part of the brain; perhaps a 'higher' part but still deeply embedded, pertaining to our universal thirst for spirituality. Polly's always struck me as an instinctive, animalistic writer. She may take a long time to produce her work but that's because she's a true artist, someone who wants to produce a piece which reflects exactly how she feels, not because of a solely intellectual process (like 12-tone 'music' yuk!). Something like Snake seems to be an amazingly feral, violent response to the Biblical story, something that's completely stirred her juices. She really is a force of nature when aroused!

One small indicator of her way of looking at things is her views on fox hunting, which are often deplored by the average PJ fan. She cites having witnessed the carnage wrought by a fox in a hen house as her motive for supporting hunting. I would suggest there are more rational ways to control foxes, but I think she views their actions in moral terms & thus, rather in Old Testament fashion, condemns them to a bloody end.


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:37 am 
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AineteEkaterini wrote:
Scandalously I’ve never actually seen Reeling! PJ did name-check Arvo Part at one stage, didn’t she?


I don't recall that but she did when being interviewed several years ago. She spoke about some of the artists who have moved her the most throughout her life, playing a selection from each artist.

Looking thru my hard drive, it was a BBC (series?) called, "Private Passions", in 2008.

Anyway, good conversation.

As far as my take on the subject, well, I don't have the time to go into detail nor do I necessarily have a cohesive set of thoughts on the subject to share at the moment. But I find myself agreeing with everyone at least some of the time. My "issues" with PJ, which is probably too strong of a word, tend more to the superficial aspects of herself and her art of late.

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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:59 pm 
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Yes_No_Maybe_So wrote:
... she did when being interviewed several years ago ...


That's what I was thinking of, yes.

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... the superficial aspects ...


In another time, and another place, and when you feel like it, you must elaborate on that!


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:58 am 
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IT;S terrifying


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:55 am 
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I think that for better for worse the music is honest which I fully admire. Hope Six is kind of messy, but I genuinely get the sense that what she's singing about are the ideas and images that have affected her the most and consume her thoughts. She's interested in different things, different things stoke the passion in her work.


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 6:36 pm 
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I sort of think Hope Six and England are some of her darkest moments?


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 Post subject: Re: Camille Paglia & PJ
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:33 pm 
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Between_These_Lands wrote:
I sort of think Hope Six and England are some of her darkest moments?


‘Darkness’ is a bit of a slippery concept, isn’t it? PJ’s work clearly has always delved into the troubled and troubling aspects of being human, but in different ways as time has gone on, different modes of expression: her output is so diverse it’s hard to generalise about. There’s often a very black humour evident in the music, although even that varies from the self-undermining, cross-cutting voices on ‘Sheela-na-Gig’, to TBYML’s edge of Gothic camp. This is apparently going to come through again in the latest collection of poetry, although again it’ll have a slightly different tone (flyblown sheep carcasses rather than swamps and deserts). The last three albums, though, don’t have a giggle between them (in my opinion), although there’s a couple of bitter, cynical touches on Hope 6. It’s the seriousness and lack of humour which creates that impression of darkness, I think.

But of course it’s all very personal. I find White Chalk exhilaratingly terrifying, LES heartbreakingly beautiful, and Hope 6, well, hopeful, despite itself - certainly humanistic and compassionate.


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