CLOSE UP OF PLUMBOB WEARING OLD CLOTHES EVEN THOUGH HE IS RICHER THAN GOD:
PLUMBOB: I had a normal childhood, mansion, servants, you know, the usual. At university, I developed a real passion for photography… well, actually, it was for big boobs. I loved taking photos of big boobs. But I noticed, hey, no one is giving me props for this. I wanted to be up there with all the famous masters, I wanted to be acclaimed!
So, I whipped out my Amex Platinum card and booked myself a one-way ticket to some of the nicest hotels in the poorest countries of the world. It was gruelling for me, working sometimes two or three hours a day, having to mix with all kinds of weird, non-white, non-Western people. God, those fuckers are weird. But they make great subjects!
What I learned on that first trip is the great skill it takes to remove all humanity from a subject, to make them a stereotype of the “ethnic.” You have to do extreme close ups, make sure it’s really, really unflattering. Exclude anything Western, like, make sure you take their cellphone off them, that is essential. Your goal here is to make a photo that a British Army officer could have taken during 1900 – 1920. Make the subject as powerless and objectified as possible, remove any hint of agency.
You want to create photos that make the white viewer feel comfortably superior to the subject. You want to create that colonial glow in the viewer so try to get scenes that fit in with that narrative, like “tribal dances” (make sure they take off their Nikes first, lol!) or an old lady petting a yak or a baby with flies all over its face, looking near death. All that good stuff that will win you a photojournalism prize.
Needless to say, black and white only, on film and preferably on a Leica that costs more than the subject country makes in a year. If you do shoot digital, make sure it’s on some weird old camera no-one else can get and have one of your assistants transfer it all to medium format before making Polaroids which you then display on a Game Boy Advance screen and take photos of that.
Last week I was an upstanding citizen. I went to work, I paid my taxes, Church twice on Sunday.
But then, just a few days ago, I saw…
A FEMALE-PRESENTING NIPPLE
Now, I don’t know if the nipple was owned by a boy or a girl. I only know that it presented as female. What do I mean by this? Well, I’m not quite sure but, at the same time, I know exactly what I mean. Y’know… female-presenting.
An hour after seeing this female-presenting nipple, I went on a ram-raiding spree. I knocked over fifteen sub post offices, three ATMs and a doughnut hut.
Then I murdered, like, LOADS of people. Like…. LOADS.
Even worse, I went round the skips at the back of Tescos and mixed all the recycling together with the non-recycling.
YUP I DID IT
All of this, all this horror could have been prevented if only Tumblr had stepped up earlier and prevented me from seeing this fleshy derailer, this midget gem of malevolence, Satan’s radio tuner… THE FEMALE-PRESENTING NIPPLE!!!
I was out in Mosh again last night, having a lovely emo time. I was with a couple of friends and another had gone to the bar.
He came back with Racist David in tow. Yes, Racist David who thinks this is the height of comedy ->
I was dumbfounded. When I’d flagged his bullshit up, he never once tried to apologise or even backpedal on his hate-peddling. If he had even once said, ‘Oh, sorry, I totally shouldn’t have posted that’ or ‘it was a stupid mistake, I don’t really find it funny’ then I would have been fine. We ALL make mistakes, we ALL say stupid shit that we instantly regret but we OWN IT like adults. And we apologise and try not to be such a dick in the future.
But not Racist David. He was totally okay with what he’d liked. It was funny! Consequently, I was cast as the “touchy Asian” who should really learn how to take a joke.
Obviously, 90% of the white people I knew from Mosh, people who I thought were okay, sided with the racist. Because, that’s what white people do with racism: they support it. Hey, how else do you think it keeps going? White people with racism are like men with patriarchy – they enable it, they benefit from it and they defend it. Sure, they may say they’re anti-racist but they don’t actually mean that, they’ll never actually do anything when, say, they have to disconnect from a racist friend.
So, here I am, face to face with David the dickhead. I tell him to fuck off. He doesn’t. So I repeat it, it’s a noisy club, after all. The third time, he does, indeed, fuck off.
I stood my ground. I didn’t let a racist make me move. I will not be moved. When it comes down to it, if he hadn’t moved, I would have made him move.
If you’re non-white and reading this, you’re probably just shrugging wearily internally cos, hey, you know what it’s like. We have to struggle every day just to exist, to live without insult and attack, we have to struggle against those who would dehumanise us. It’s a never-ending drip of micro and the occasional macro aggression.
If you’re white, I’d ask you: what are you doing to stop racism? Do you laugh along with the racist jokes you hear or do you call out the hater?
First, please watch this excellent video by Jamie Windsor:
So, that video inspired this comment from me:
This is a beautiful, thoughtful commentary and raised a lot of issues for me ~ there is a whole school of photography which is basically neo-colonial and seems to delight in reducing people from non-European cultures into curiosities, into sub-human spectacles. There is no respect for them as people at all. That’s a definite tendency “art” photography still has to address. I’m sure you know the famous photos I’m referring to.
I agree with your embedded perspective, being *from* the culture but maybe it’s more than that, maybe it’s a question of power relations? A cop taking a photo of me is not the same as me taking a photo of a cop. I know this from taking pics on demos. Similarly, a rich European taking a few days jaunt in an impoverished country, searching for grief porn to capture is definitely exploiting their relative power advantage.
And THANK YOU for the words about people hiding behind the letter of the law to justify immoral acts. Slavery was legal, rape in marriage was legal, does that mean it was okay to be a slaveowner or a rapist?
This happened to me when I was a kid. I was probably 7 or 8? The kids I invited wanted to come but their racist parents wouldn’t let them go.
A lot these people were the same people who lobbied the people we bought our house off not to sell to us.
In the whole neighbourhood, there was only one white family who be-friended us. And they were lovely, just the best people. I was too young to think of it at the time but now I wonder how much shit they got off their racist neighbours for being friends with us.
I try to remember the kindness of that family rather than the hatred of the white majority but some days it’s hard.
Oh, and the party? My Mummy just partied with me and put away all the extra food she’d got. She was brilliant and I soon forgot how sad I’d been.
I have one of the above interfaces. I plugged it in to my iMac Pro which is still on High Sierra still as I am a cautious type (usually) and not yet sure how well Mojave would behave with all my pro audio software. Anyway, I plugged in the interface, searched for it in Audio Midi and…
Nothing there. All my other interfaces are there, no Roland.
Hmm. Usually, MIDI thingies are class-compliant ~ they’re just plug and go. Why would Roland release one that isn’t? Oh well, no big deal. So, I head to the site and, sure enough, there’s a driver for Macs.
I download it and install it, reboot and…
Well, that was around four hours ago. Since then, I’ve been trying to get my iMac to boot to desktop. It boots to the Apple and progress bar but that’s it. The bar fills up, at at about one-tenth its normal speed and then stays stuck at the end. I’ve even left it for an hour, thinking I was being impatient. No change.
Sooo, okay, I can handle this. Just hold down shift and I can boot into safe mode. Then uninstall the stupid driver.
I’ve been trying to boot into safe mode for a large part of the last few hours. Whatever Roland’s techs have done, they’ve fucked that ability.
So, ten minutes ago, I realised this isn’t going anywhere and I booted into Recovery Mode (command-R).
Now I’m doing a whole fresh install of High Sierra because Roland can’t design a MIDI driver.
I play keyboards. If I was in a band, I would be called ‘the keyboardist.’
But I am not a keyboardist, I am a motherfucking SYNTHESIST.
The difference is this:
If I was given the new Moog One polyphonic synthesiser to demo for a YouTube video, I would do two things. First, I would play it mainly polyphonically. Secondly, I would create patches to show off the power of the first Moog poly since the Memorymoog.
I would not take a hugely expensive polysynth and do endless monophonic blues widdling with a generic hard sync patch that’s older than my fucking balls. I wouldn’t just skip through presets without showing the actual power of the synthesis architecture.
If a new, flagship piano was released , they wouldn’t give it to me to demo. You know why? BECAUSE I’M NOT A FUCKING PIANIST. I can fake piano, sure but I haven’t got the classical or jazz chops to give a full, informative demo of the timbres a new instrument of that type is capable of creating.
Imagine if I did a video with a new grand piano and proceeded to just play the bassline to Blue Monday for ten minutes. And then gave it a 3/10 cos there was no aftertouch.
My stereotype of keyboardists is that they had piano lessons as a kid but then gave up. They have some chops but they’re neither pianists nor synthesists. They’re preset bashers with little to zero interest in sound design / patch creation. They can play every wedding reception favourite song ever but all with no feel. None of them can keep time. And they love doing generic blues soloing. Boy, do they love doing generic blues soloing. Give them a crappy “guitar solo” patch on a synth and you’ve got eight hours of predictable notes coming your way. Which, ironically, is something actual guitarists struggle their entire fucking lives to avoid.
This is what used to happen when I used to go to Turnkey in London to have a go on a new rompler. I’d get to the new synth I want to see aaaannddd…
…. some keyboardist would have beaten me to it. They call up an organ patch: blues solo. They call up a bassoon patch: blues solo. They call up a polyphonic orchestral patch: blues solo. They call up a drum kit: two seconds of intensely arrhythmic tapping and then off to find another patch to blues solo over.
Do you seem my rather laboured point? A keyboardist just plays the same licks on every bloody keyboard they encounter, on every patch. A synthesist would play a violin patch in a violin style, an acoustic guitar patch in the note/string order of an actual acoustic guitar, a haunting Sakamotoesque patch in that style. And, most importantly, a synthesist creates NEW sounds, NEW styles. Synthesists are not frustrated guitarists, we have our own thing.
We dream of caressing a polysynth like the Moog One. Three oscillators per voice… mmmm… creamy. Classic Moog ladder and other filters? How can we fuck that up? Multiple arpeggiators that we can assign multitimbrally? Time to patch up my own drum kit and maybe throw in some Karplus-Strong via the multi-effects.
I would love to see more synthesizer demos by synthesists.