Friday, March 28, 2014

HEADPHONES: A PHENOMENOLGY

It's a familiar scene: crowded onto public transportation, headphone-wearing young people are jostled aside by others who simply want to get on or off the bus/tram/morning circus. Young people also crowd the entrances, they do not move back, they are not the problem, however, why they do what they do and what it means, that is the problem.

my claim is this: Young people seek validation of their existence, as do we all? What is often lacking is a good outlet, a responsible channel,a functional means of self-validation, I believe and argue that what young people cannot have appropriately, they will appropriate inappropriately or dysfunctionally. They are, if nothing else, us, only without our means, they remain us. Do they? headphones allow youth to close off command channels to themselves they could never close off before the portable stereo Walkman. Monophonic portable radios did not spark the revolution in personal audio consumption, that had to wait for the Sony Walkman.

How liberating it must have been at first, music was free for the first time to follow us through our daily lives, it was unleashed from the basements of our personal sound dungeons and let loose on the city streets, the soundtrack of our lives. Movies set the pace and the tone, everyone had to have their theme music and backup band. If you wanted to feel a feeling, you only had to pop in a cassette.

I want to enumerate the phenomenology of headphones:

When you wear a headphone, by sight, your signals is that: 1. you will not be disturbed. 2. You may be disturbed. 3. You are closed to interaction with those people in your immediate environment. 4. Those in your inner circle and far removed from you physically can break through thanks to the marriage of portable mobile telephony and personal digital audio technology. Ah-hah says the young person, I listen to music perhaps because it's really important to me. while that is almost certainly true. We form our characters by a variety of processes, not least of which is our choice of audio consumption, it that the only reason? Does it fully explain why you listen on the tram while reading something else? Only 1 in 40 people is a true multi-tasker, What researchers call 'super-taskers' whose performance in several tasks at once, through rapid cycling is no worse than in any one singular task. Notice, the act of asking whether your beloved audio consumption isn't just wallpaper at least of the time, produces cognitive dissonance, where your words emanating from your left hemisphere language centre, say one thing but your body language emanating from many parts of your brain and spatially informed by (citation needed) your right hemisphere say something else.
It is useful to presuppose or notice or imagine that when you are interacting with another, there are two of you, at least, interacting with at least two of them. Back to headphones.
the benefits of being able to close off, by choice, your hearing means you need not attend to what others say on the tram.
  1. inevitably, your existence will be dysfunctionally validated because someone will have to acknowledge your existence by bumping you or tapping or shoulder or speaking rather loudly. In other words, the normal command channels having been mitigated or even eliminated, the physical command channels remain and in this touch averse society, Where young people not young enough to be cute or old enough to be useful workers sense on some intuitive level that the general regard for them is somewhere approaching useless for the majority of those who are not immediate family.

  2. So who's crazy now? Used to be that if someone was talking to themselves, you crossed the street because they were crazy, now, with bluetooth, hands free mobile telephony, many people exhibit lunatic behaviour that is now considered normal. how strange to hear someone on a tram wearing headphones and talking to someone who is not there via integrated microphones. How much stranger still that no one comments on the strangeness, sometimes there are dirty looks.
In summary, headphones offer control in a physically and visually crowded landscape. It is almost impossible to escape advertising without shutting our eyes. But we can shut off our ears by turning them on to audio we control. An ironic reversal, the one sensory modality we can't control well enough by conscious means, we control by technology, we can't push back our visual field, only shut our eyes, we cannot retreat inside our bodies but we can push the borders of our country of sound very far indeed.

Finally, status is conferred in public by who we ignore. Headphones confer maximum localised status that is at once instantaneous, totally personal and totally valueless in the wider scheme of society.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Minimalism

Helmeted in the face

A cavalcade of squeeze
Pushing for pressure's sake

The others
Too precious with themselves
To ever be unleashed
They overthink and underact

Unfettered, rise!
The day is done when we say so

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The P word is a 4 letter word

Macrobial stalks

The wet iguanaroid
Loves to rip it up
protean standards
it dines alone

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The great vacuum inside Dingleberry Axleworthy's head

Dingleberry was a little man. he would not hesitate to kick puppies if he caught them unattended. He should have kicked their owners, who let the puppies shit all over the place. That bitch with her filthy cigarette and ugly pets. Dingleberry wished he could flush them all down a giant toilet. After he'd shit on them of course. Her screams would echo off the porcelain as she vanished into the plumbing. Dingleberry felt the cockles of his heart flutter in fantasy-vengence.

Charlene was a chain-smoking, poodle walking bitch and her poodles shit over every horizontal surface but the plateau of her shovel faced head.

"Hey, Charlene,"
"Hi!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Pencil Case of Holding

She always liked to imagine a pencil case, an ideal pencil case. It would be small enough to carry in her pocket, yet large enough to contain a drafting table, she could put anything she liked into it, in
any order, of any size, and it would always appear at the top when she  needed it. Used pencils would appear sharpened, old pens would be full of ink and ready to use. That old fountain pen she had ignored for 8 years would not only be mysteriously full but its nib would also be moist and ready for action. Even that lucky ballpoint she lost after her final exam in high school would be there. All in her pocket.

One night, she dreamt that her neighbour stole her pencil case, came into her flat in the middle of the day while she worked, found the pencil case, stole it. Why had she left it home that day? Of all days?

By the curious logic of dreams she understood she had to leave it or her neighbour couldn't have stolen it. She awoke with a sense of loss so upsetting she called work and took a sick day. Sat nursing her coffee in the heat of the late morning. Missing something she'd never had.

Later that day, she kicked a puppy and was cruel to her neighbour. Offended and upset, her neighbour went home and drank beer in front of the tube until he fell unconscious, dreaming of scribbling terrible graffiti on her front door.

He dreamt that in his pocket, he had a pencil case full of cans of spraypaint. He had no idea where he'd gotten it but somehow, he liked it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

87 Grasshopper Dreams


Sunday, December 18, 2011

89 Fantasy / Reality Explained

Fantasy can be realistic
Reality can be fantastic
Fantasy can be made with thought alone
Reality can be all one with no thought made


When we stop believing in fantasy, it disappears
When we stop believing in reality, we disappear


If you still won't understand this difference
Can I interest you in a castle made of sand?

88 Dawn Dreams

In the time before there was time, a lone figure stepped out of the mist and slapped me across the face. I was being chased by God. It was the apocalypse of my own procrastination and I did not know if I had the resources to face the tribulation. I had heard of Atheists who prayed, knowing they prayed to themselves, or to life. I thought I was possessed by the demon of sloth, I regressed to a mythic worldview. Then it happened. I continued to work. I awoke in sunlight with a newspaper. I could not escape the house. All I wanted was the girl outside. Then I realised I was there with her, the note I remembered having seen before taped to the window was there as well, now I could see the other side. It was advice for me. I noticed the newspaper had been torn in two. I began to tear it in half slowly. As I tore I was also torn, my ego split again and half of me escaped, the half with the knowledge of it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

87 Scene from a Lost Reel