A: Hi, B!
B: So, what's been rocking your world recently?
A: Do you have to use such rockist language? If you mean, "What have you been appreciating culturally recently?", I'd say Harry Partch's "musical account of a transcontinental hobo trip", The Wayward Cycle.
B: Wayward is the perfect word for Partch. It's funny, although you talk a lot about Japan and collectivism, the stuff you end up liking is super-American, and super-individualistic. Who's "the Japanese Partch"?
A: Oh, there are Japanese Partches. Tomomi Adachi or Mamoru Fujieda, for example. There are people even further out than Partch. Toshiya Tsunoda, for instance. But I do like lots of American stuff. American stuff that somehow doesn't sound "American", especially. The other day someone called Ljova sent me a nice record called The World on Four Strings. It sounded like East European fiddle music, and it reminded me of the films of the Brothers Quay.
B: Never heard of them!
A: They're Americans too, but they live in London and they make these films which look totally Polish. I saw them on UK Channel 4, and they were the best thing I saw on TV in the 1980s. Someone's put one up on YouTube, Street of Crocodiles, the Quays' version of the Bruno Schulz story.
B: Thank God for YouTube, eh! Internet 2.0, they're calling it. That, and Flickr, and MySpace, and all these new Google services... the internet has the whole world covered!
A: I had dinner with the editor of Vice the other night, and he was saying something similar. "We're in the middle of a new dot com boom," he said. (He's deleted his MySpace page too, by the way.) But then we went to a gallery, the Artists' Space on Greene Street, and saw a performance by Ron Athey. He was suspended by hooks, with a baseball bat up his ass and oddly inflated testicles, covered in Native American tribal tattoos, and members of the public were greasing up his body with Vaseline. Now there's an experience they'll never put on the internet.
B: I just ran Ron Athey's name through YouTube. "Found no videos matching Ron Athey. Do you have one? Upload it!"
A: He's not on Internet 2.0, and he won't be on Internet 10. Another thing they'll never put up there is dance. There are one million videos of cute kittens and cars running red lights, but no videos of Japanese dance company Strange Kinoko. And no smells! That's what my next Wired piece is about. There are one billion opinions on the internet, but no onions.
B: Don't be silly, who needs onions on the internet?
A: I do! Just imagine a world where the internet could deliver us all free digital food as easily as it gives us porn! We'd never have to go out again!
B: It sounds awful. And speaking of going out, the sun is shining, and I don't mean on the internet. Are you coming out?
A: No, I want to listen to "Wayward" again. I prefer 1940s sunshine, it tastes better.