Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Press 8 to answer the phone; I'm at the clearing desk, interspersing answering student queries with an attempt at accelerated reading of half the books in the library. I've got two on the go at the moment, but I'm concentrating most on Simon Frith's Performing Rites: on the value of popular music. Like most books written on the fast-moving and ephemeral world of pop and rock music, parts of it are out-of-date but Frith has the skill, probably honed while he was a pop journalist, of condensing complex and opaque ideas into sound-bites which explain everything in a nutshell. Nutshells are immensely useful aides in navigating through the densely-forested world of academic discourse.
He also prompts recognition; you feel that he's reminding you of ideas you had yourself last week, for instance: ‘... to read images into the lyrics that are not there (always a pleasure of pop)…’ (page 7).
Next in the pile is David Hesmondhalgh's The Cultural Industries. I have a feeling I'm going to be hefting another big pile of books home on the rush-hour tube.
Brrrr...ing. the phone rings again (actually the onomatopoeic sound is more like 'pibble-pubble, pibble-pubble').

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