Tag Archives: TV Smith

TV Smith: Chomsky meets Cohen, but punk

Crikey I needed that. After Thursday’s shitshow (albeit revealed in the company of friends, which momentarily softened the blow), what happened last night was just perfect.

Given that TV Smith is a guy with a 40 year back catalogue of brilliant – perceptive, funny, lyrically astonishing – songs, and with a work ethic that would shame someone a third of his age, this was unsurprising. But still, much much appreciated.

Image result for tv smith
nicked from wikipedia

Smith has been at this game since punk screamed onot the stage in 1977.  He’s kept the faith – a DIY ethos, biting observations on how the rich get richer, the poor stay poor (and it’s expensive being poor).  I’ve seen him a bunch of times over the last 15 years, always at small venues (in a sane world a) he would be playing enormous stadiums and b) he wouldn’t, because a sane world would provide little material for his clarity, his cynicism, his stubborn but realistic optimism).  There’s never less than 100% engagement with his material, his audience.  There’s old crowd pleasers (most of the audience tends to remember the early days well), some new stuff and lots in betweens.  Last night I asked for (and got) both March of the Giants


and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay.

If you’re not familiar with his work, you’re missing out (seriously).  He next plays Manchester on Friday 27 March 2020.  See you there I hope.

PS There’s a third C – (Barry) Commoner, the American ecological thinker. Smith has several songs which speak to the ecological crimes of our species (and especially capitalism/industrialisation).

Emergent, emergency, urgency. “Properties for sale…”

Hmm, am puzzling over the distinction between synergy and emergent properties. I found this –

“Today, unfortunately, the term emergence is used in a bewildering variety of ways, often as a synonym for synergy. However, I side with the early theorists; emergence should properly be confined to those forms of synergy in which different parts merge, lose their identity and take on new physical or functional properties. Thus table salt has emergence properties…”
(Corning, 2003: 23)
Corning, P. 2003. Nature’s Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

and I guess it’s about a dialectic – where the “two” “opposing” “forces” are both/all changed into something – ‘rich and strange‘.

And being able to leverage and guide ’emergent properties’ – either to monetise them or Save The World  (“transition management and other forms of hubristic cock-pitism).  Well, I reckon the former is easier than the latter, sadly…

 

Meanwhile, the coincidence (?) between emergent and emergency rattled my brain and out popped two song lyrics.

“And it happens to be an emergency
Some things aren’t meant to be
Some things don’t come for free”
Put down that weapon by Midnight Oil

and

“We need all hands helping, the urgency is overwhelming” (TV Smith, Home Town)

That’s just how my (odd?) memory works, as distinct from beserk autobiographical memory.

See also –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobiographical_memory

TV Smith – “Buried by the Machine”

I described TV Smith as “Chomsky with a Guitar” the other day. That was before I’d listened properly to the two albums I bought at his gig.

Having now done so, my opinion…. has not shifted one little bit.

Is there a way forward
You’ve the will
Technology and the skill
They tell you to sight your target
Move in for the kill.
And stop complaining that you’re being
Buried by the machine

Up and running
It’s great!
Puts my meal
On your plate.
Prepare for hard labour
Trying to keep up to date
Snowed under – about six feet
Buried by the machine

I could get angry
Blame you
But you were just a dog
Jumping through their hoops
And you lost too
You got used
Blue collar
On a floor full of suits
Looks like you’re being dismantled
Instead of improved
Well that’s progress
We’re all being
Buried by the machine