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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
May 31, 2023

The Durutti Column - The Return of the Durutti Column (1980) (Full Album)

Label: Factory – FACT 14, Factory – FACT 14C
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Flexi-disc, 7", 33 ⅓ RPM, Single Sided
Country: UK
Released: Jan 1980
Genre: Jazz, Rock
Style: Avantgarde

More debut albums should be so amusingly perverse with its titles -- and there's the original vinyl sleeve, which consisted of sandpaper precisely so it would damage everything next to it in one's collection. Released in the glow of post-punk fervor in late-'70s Manchester, one would think Return would consist of loud, aggressive sheet-metal feedback, but that's not the way Vini Reilly works. With heavy involvement from producer Martin Hannett, who created all the synth pieces on the record as well as producing it, Reilly on Return made a quietly stunning debut, as influential down the road as his labelmates in Joy Division's effort with Unknown Pleasures. Eschewing formal "rock" composition and delivery -- the album was entirely instrumental, favoring delicacy and understated invention instead of singalong brashness -- Reilly made his mark as the most unique, distinct guitarist from Britain since Bert Jansch. Embracing electric guitar's possibilities rather than acoustic's, Reilly fused a variety of traditions effortlessly -- that one song was called "Jazz" could be called a giveaway, but the free-flowing shimmers and moods always revolve around central melodies. "Conduct," with its just apparent enough key hook surrounded by interwoven, competing lines, is a standout, turning halfway through into a downright anthemic full-band rise while never being overbearing. Hannett's production gave his compositions a just-mysterious-enough sheen, with Reilly's touches on everything from surfy reverb to soft chiming turned at once alien and still warm. Consider the relentless rhythm box pulse on "Requiem for a Father," upfront but not overbearing as Reilly's filigrees and softly spiraling arpeggios unfold in the mix -- but equally appealing is "Sketch for Winter," Reilly's guitar and nothing more, a softly haunting piece living up to its name. The 1996 reissue is the edition to search for, containing six excellent bonus tracks. Two are actually solo Hannett synth pieces from the sessions, but others include an initial tribute to Joy Division's Ian Curtis, "Lips That Would Kiss," and "Sleep Will Come," featuring the group's first vocal performance thanks to A Certain Ratio member Jeremy Kerr.

May 31, 2023

Enter a dreamy French surrealist poem, where love and reality never quite touch

I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make
your dear voice come alive again?

I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my
chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many
days and years, I would surely become a shadow.

O scales of feeling.

I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who
counts for me today, I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and
face of some passerby.

I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much
with your phantom, that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom
among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow the
moves and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.


On its surface, the poem ‘I Have Dreamed of You So Much’ (‘J’ai tant rêvé de toi’) by the French writer Robert Desnos (1900-45) reads as a somewhat straightforward meditation on love – or perhaps limerence – and longing. Addressing a ‘you’ who is somehow out of reach, a narrator yearns for their presence and seems to be losing touch with reality. But in the context of the surrealist movement, of which Desnos was a part, the narrator’s perspective shatters, refracts and blurs in disorienting and fascinating ways. Is the speaker awake, dreaming or on a different plane of being than their beloved? The truth is unclear.

The Bulgarian-born French director Emma Vakarelova’s animated adaptation of the poem brilliantly draws out these themes of yearning on the foundation of an ambiguous reality. As a male voice reads in French, two figures seemingly inspired by the perspective-bending art of Pablo Picasso and the uncanny dreamscapes of Salvador Dalí, among others, move through a colourful universe that only they seem to inhabit. Still, the two never truly connect. A male figure representing the narrator constantly morphs in size and shape, as a woman moves through water on a boat, seemingly unaware of his existence. A score of percussion and piano adds a wistful, pensive layer to the atmosphere. The result is a rare instance of an audiovisual poem that’s so thoughtfully rendered, it seems to enhance – rather than sit beside or flatten – the author’s words.

May 31, 2023

Hollywood, Florida shooting: 2 arrested in South Florida mass shooting investigation, police say


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Police have made two arrests in a shooting that broke out during what investigators are calling an altercation between two groups near a South Florida beach boardwalk on Memorial Day. They continue to investigate who or how many actually fired shots and continue to search for possible suspects.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, officers working the beach responded to the area of Johnson Street in Hollywood after hearing gunfire and found multiple people with gunshot wounds. The shooting left nine people hurt, including a 1-year-old.

Two people believed to be involved in the altercation that led to a shooting in Hollywood, Florida — Keshawn Stewart (Left) and Morgan Deslouches (Right), both 18 — have been arrested on firearms charges, police said.

In a news release, the Hollywood Police Department released photos of the three people of interest in hopes someone would recognize them and come forward. Police on Tuesday evening said they have arrested Morgan Deslouches and Keshawn Stewart, both 18, on firearms charges but not for any charges directly related to shots fired that injured any of the victims. Police continue to seek assistance in identifying persons of interest.

Investigators said the victims – four minors between the ages of 1 and 17 and five adults between the ages of 25 and 65 – were taken to local hospitals. Three have since been treated and released, while six others remain hospitalized, police said. The names of those wounded have not been released.

May 31, 2023

House Dems in the No Labels-allied Problem Solvers Caucus are livid with No Labels

The group is under fire for its unity presidential bid and for an attack on a Problem Solvers Caucus member.


“No Labels’ attacks are the kind of division the country needs less of right now, and it’s a betrayal of every moderate and every problem solver in Congress,” Rep. Brad Schneider said.

A group of House Democrats with ties to No Labels is turning on the centrist group after it attacked one of their founding members. On Tuesday, No Labels texted people who live in the district of Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), criticizing the congressman for scoffing at their idea for a unity presidential ticket and claiming it could result in Donald Trump’s return to the presidency. In its message, No Labels said it was “alarmed to learn that your U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider recently attacked the notion that you should have more choices in the 2024 presidential election.” They called Schneider “out of step” with his voters.

The missive did not go over well with Schneider, who is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus that No Labels helped start on the Hill. “No Labels’ attacks are the kind of division the country needs less of right now, and it’s a betrayal of every moderate and every problem solver in Congress,” Schneider said in a statement to POLITICO. “I helped form the Problem Solvers Caucus six years ago to reach across the aisle and find common ground, not to abandon my principles. I am as committed today as I’ve always been to the principles that reflect the values and priorities of my district, and to reaching across the aisle for the good of our country.”

Schneider was quickly joined by other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus in chastising No Labels for attacking one of their own and pushing a unity ticket. “No Labels is wasting time, energy, and money on a bizarre effort that confuses and divides voters, and has one obvious outcome — reelecting Donald Trump as President,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) in a statement. “Now, the organization has decided to go one step further and attack a decent, well-respected, and hardworking member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for the apparent sin of calling them out on their bogus plan.”

“I speak for most of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Problem Solvers Caucus that we deeply believe in the mission and are grateful for creating space in place for thoughtful dialogue in a time we need it more than ever, but disappointed in this initiative against Brad Schneider,” he said. Despite the anger with attacks on Schneider, neither Phillips nor his fellow offended Problem Solvers Caucus members said that they would be leaving the caucus. Asked whether he had conveyed his concerns to No Labels or to its co-founder and president Nancy Jacobson, Phillips declined to share any private conversations.

May 31, 2023

Too Much or Never Enough: Excess, Success, and Happiness under Capitalism


Seong Moy, "Nets", (ca.1955-1965).

It is a long and rather unwieldy word, supererogation, evoking both comic books and crop management. Some sense of the beast is provided by its etymology, grounded in the Latin stem of ērogāre: to pay out or expend. To supererogate, then, is to give more than one owes, to go ‘beyond the call of duty’, as modern moral idiom has it. The term finds its first use in the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan, intertwining these economic and ethical implications. More recently, beginning with James Opie Urmson’s 1958 article ‘Saints and Heroes’, it has inspired debates in analytic philosophy. Urmson was most interested in suggesting that consequentialist ethical systems cannot account for supererogatory acts, like that of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades, a claim which has been variously disputed and endorsed over the decades since. Whether Urmson is right is, however, much less interesting than the near-total failure of this minor academic dispute to treat supererogation as anything other than praiseworthy.

This is especially unusual given the energy poured by Protestant reformers since the 16th century into condemning the doctrine of supererogation as not only conceptually impossible, but also pathologically detrimental to both salvation and earthly existence. Luther’s sola fide stood in staunch opposition to the indulgent ‘good works’ of Catholic nobles, which in his eyes disclosed merely prideful self-deception. The distinction between commands and counsels upon which supererogation was traditionally based was rejected as sheer invention, a tool of control. German reformer Nicolaus Zinzendorf deemed that such ‘ecclesiastical regulations’ had ‘no promise for this life or the life to come’. Calvin, for his part, offered a characteristically rigorous account of our relation to God, dismissing the notion that such ‘unworthy servants’ as we could be capable of giving the Almighty more than his due. Even meeting our duties proved impossible, let alone exceeding them.

Weber’s classic account of how this ‘Protestant ethic’ entwined itself with the nascent spirit of capitalism is well known. It would nonetheless need updating for the new strains of capitalist exchange proliferating in the 21st century. The ascetic rigorism of ‘hustle culture’ has been paradoxically enhanced by an obsession with performance and spectacle decidedly alien to Calvin, exemplified by social media influencers whose followers function as secular indulgences. In work and leisure alike, modern consciousness is possessed on the one hand by the desire to supererogate, to go beyond the minimum, and haunted on the other by a repressed recognition that these perceived duties never can really be fulfilled in any meaningful sense. In the absence of ultimate divine salvation to fall back on, this insight proves especially painful—and, via the erection of false idols, especially worthy of repression.

It is this double bind, of compelled yet futile supererogation, which a host of recent publications in philosophy and sociology take as their starting point. Amongst these we might name the British art critic and essayist Jonathan Crary, whose 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (2014) centres around rising working hours and the corresponding reduction in sleep; the German sociologists Ulrich Bröckling and Andreas Reckwitz, who concentrate respectively on the societal enforcement of entrepreneurialism and creativity; and the French thinker Tristan Garcia, who, in The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession (2018), both exposes the dominant social type of the ‘intense person’ and follows the self-defeating logic of intensity to its furthest philosophical conclusions. Also deserving of mention are the Tübingen Germanist Eckart Goebel, whose Ambition: An Essay on the Burning Desire to Rise (2022) traces the literary and cultural history of this most flammable of concepts from ancient Greece to the present day; and the British art historian and political theorist Malcolm Bull, in whose works we find a recurrent concern with what Terry Eagleton calls ‘lessness’—that which remains of people and the world when ideological encrustations are scraped away or never have time to settle.


much more at the top link

Jack Graveney graduated 2022 with a Starred First in History and German from the University of Cambridge, and will soon be heading to Oxford for a Masters, writing his thesis on labour, happiness, and community in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. His work has been published in German Life and Letters, The Oxonian Review, The Cambridge Journal of Law, Politics, and Art, and the Cambridge Review of Books.

Works Cited

Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, Stanford 2002.

Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life, Durham NC 2017.

Franco Berardi, Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide, London 2015.

Ulrich Bröckling, The Entrepreneurial Self: Fabricating a New Type of Subject, London 2015.

Ulrich Bröckling, Postheroische Helden, Berlin 2020.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1, Edinburgh 1863.

Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, London 2014.

William Davies, ‘Economics of Insomnia’, New Left Review 85, January-February 2014.

William Davies, The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being, London 2016.

Gilles Deleuze, ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, October, vol. 59, Winter 1992, pp. 3-7.

Terry Eagleton, ‘Does marmalade exist?’, London Review of Books, 27 January 2022.

Tristan Garcia, The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession, Edinburgh 2018.

Eckart Goebel, Ambition: An Essay on the Burning Desire to Rise, London 2022.

William Harvey-Jellie and Frederick William Brown, The Preacher’s Commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, London 1882.

Andrew Huddleston, ‘“Consecration to Culture”: Nietzsche on Slavery and Human Dignity’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 52, no. 1, 2014, pp. 135–160.

Gustav Ichheiser, Kritik des Erfolges: Eine soziologische Untersuchung, Leipzig 1930.

Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, the Aristocratic Rebel, Leiden 2020.

Daniel T Max, ‘The Unfinished’, The New Yorker, 9 March 2009.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft, Stuttgart 1988.

Wilhelm Schmid, High on Low: Harnessing the Power of Unhappiness, New York 2014.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Indianapolis 2012.

James Opie Urmson, ‘Saints and Heroes’, in Abraham I Melden, ed., Essays in Moral Philosophy, Seattle 1958, pp. 198-216.

Max Weber, Die Wirtschaftsethik der Weltreligionen. Konfuzianismus und Taoismus. Schriften 1915–1920, Tübingen 1989.
May 31, 2023

Is Democracy "Beautiful"?

Our political preferences are largely a product of moral intuitions and aesthetic sensibilities that are difficult to account for.


“Is democracy beautiful?” I was asked to answer this question on a panel as part of a conference on beauty, of all things. The question initially struck me as odd. Plus, I didn’t really have an answer, a predicament that’s dogged me in recent months. As I’ve gotten older (or less young), I’ve begun to think that most of our opinions are contingent and provisional. In other words, they’re accidents of history and context. They could’ve been otherwise. If you took my same genetic material but put me in, say, Wyoming (or Pakistan) or if I had different friends or went to a different school and was influenced by a different seventh grade history teacher, I would have probably ended up having different opinions than the ones I have today. Also: events. If 9/11 had never happened, I would have been the same person but different.

What we do have—and what is more unchanging—is a set of moral intuitions and aesthetic sensibilities. These are outside of politics or perhaps even pre-political. They are visceral, and things viscerally felt aren’t always easy to explain. They are there, and they might feel like they’ve always been. (This is more or less how I make sense of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “visceral” if rather inchoate Islamism). Now that I was prompted with the question of “Is Democracy Beautiful?”, I felt pressure to fashion an opinion out of nothingness.

Sadly, I had written a book on democracy which didn’t include the word “beautiful” even once. So, instead, I searched for the word beautiful in my Twitter archives, which double as a daily political diary of unformed ideas, instincts, and occasionally “irritable mental gestures that resemble ideas,” to quote Lionel Trilling. There was only one reference to democracy being beautiful, but it was a good one. After Biden took office on January 20, 2021, The New York Times announced in big, bold letters that ‘Democracy has prevailed,’ which was a quote from Biden during his inaugural address. Moved by the moment, I tweeted: “Alternation of power is a beautiful thing.”

So democracy was beautiful! Before I headed to the conference, I thought about my own thoughts on beauty. I looked around. My apartment faithfully represents the key tenets of minimalist design, all clean lines, right angles, and stark contrasts. My book outlined a theory of something I called “democratic minimalism.” Was that a coincidence? Even the cover was an unusually stark example of Swiss minimalist design principles.

May 31, 2023

Studio Paul Chan references Wes Anderson at Boisson bottle shop in Los Angeles


The opening scene from a Wes Anderson film provided a starting point for the interior of this bottle shop in Los Angeles, by locally based Studio Paul Chan. The first LA location for Boisson combines elements of mid-century Hollywood design and art deco in a 1,160-square-foot (108-square-metre) space to showcase a selection of non-alcoholic beverages.

"Inspired by great storytelling and glassware in Wes Anderson's French Dispatch opening scene, where a server scales five flights of stairs to deliver a tray of aperitifs, absinthe, dry white wine, a coke, and an affogato to a meeting of editors, we endeavoured to create a space for the aesthete," said studio founder Paul Chan. The studio installed walnut-stained wooden wall panelling with areas of "calming" dusty green lime wash spaced evenly in between.

These materials are contrasted by thin stainless steel shelves upon which the products are displayed along both side walls. "The layered narrative mixes artisanal materials with machine-made elements, creating a conceptual parallel between non-alcoholic drinks and traditional wine," Chan said.

A long narrow wooden table runs through the centre of the space, creating another spot for presenting the bottles on top, and adding storage in the form of open racks below. Chan also took cues from Maison de Verre, a modernist house completed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet in 1932, for elements of his design.


May 31, 2023

Graphic House - Hackney, London - by Office S&M

Office S&M were approached by two graphic designers to renovate their Edwardian house in Hackney. The design draws upon the owner’s belief in the power of graphics and their love of Art Deco forms.


A variety of colours have been used to help define key moments throughout the house and tell a story about the building’s purpose and history. For instance, a minty green is used as a graphic tool to highlight all the new-built elements on the ground floor, wrapping around the curved walls of the toilet, through the kitchen, and on to the rear garden wall. Meanwhile, yellow is used for the window and door frames to highlight the new openings. Where existing walls have been restored, the pink plaster has been left bare, indicating the house’s past and bringing warmth and softness to the space.

As lovers of the outdoors, the family wanted this love of adventure to be captured in their home. We took these ideas and reconfigured the interiors to bring in more light and create a sense of playfulness. A collection of graphic shapes overlap between the different levels of the house, following the stairwell. This includes an over-scaled stair painted on the wall that draws you up, while reflective circular shapes help to connect the different levels while also capturing sunlight entering through a rooflight above and bringing it downstairs. Pops of bright colours highlight objects and elements in the space, such as a red curved extractor hood that projects like a nose from the wall in the kitchen, marking the cooking space. The interiors of the toilet and coat cupboards are painted in a bright Dulux Bongo Jazz, a vivid peach, creating an immersive colour experience that contrasts with the minty green. When the doors are ajar, the colour spills out into the hallway, creating intrigue and surprise.

Throughout the house, circular shapes have been used to puncture walls. Some are transparent, allowing light through, as with the large window in the kitchen, while others mirror and reflect light. In the stairwell, the circular mirrors and glossy paint reflect light and create new views and graphic compositions which play out as one moves through the space. The kitchen window also acts as a time marker, like the oculus in the dome of the Pantheon in Rome. The circle of sunlight will track across the space, recording the passing of time and the seasons. When the circle first appears, it announces the beginning of spring, and its disappearance marks the start of winter.

The homeowners loved the curved edges in the brick walls and the later addition of the Art Deco fireplace in the original house, and wanted to see these reflected in the designs. These features are echoed in the round windows and mirrors, the rounded worktops and curved walls. The graphics serve a practical purpose as well as an aesthetic one, the curved walls of the WC lead you through the hall, kitchen and dining space. Creating a long-term home which is better insulated, well ventilated and more sustainable, was important to the family. Insulation has been added, and wherever possible the house has been repaired and restored, rather than building new. The kitchen worktops were made from recycled plastic cutlery melted down to create hardwearing kitchen surfaces.


May 30, 2023

Trewhela Williams adds louvred oak facade to London mews house in Belsize Park


Architecture office Trewhela Williams has completed a minimalist renovation of a mews house in north London, adding a bespoke timber facade to animate its street-facing elevation. The home, which is set in the Belsize Park Conservation Area, originally featured a disused garage that took up a sizeable portion of the floor plan on the ground floor and blocked off any connection to the street outside.

Trewhela Williams was brought on board to optimise the home's ground floor and convert the garage to provide additional living space. The project focused on opening up the dark and insular interior to views of the quiet mews at the front and a small private courtyard in the rear.

Existing walls enclosing the garage were removed to allow this space to be incorporated into an open-plan living area that now extends across the full depth of the property. The former garage door was replaced with a facade crafted from white-oiled oak that retains the proportions of the old door but provides greater visual interest when viewed from the mews.

"The existing garage doors along the street create quite a closed and guarded frontage," Trewhela Williams told Dezeen. "We wanted to create something that's visually animated and provides a more open and engaging elevation." Angled oak fins positioned in front of the large window function as a brise soleil, allowing daylight to enter and providing limited views of the street from inside while maintaining privacy.


May 30, 2023

The Secret Garden Flat in Camberwell named London's best new home renovation


A renovated flat by studio Nic Howett Architect that "feels like an oasis" has been named London's best new home improvement project by Don't Move Improve! 2023. Named The Secret Garden Flat, the ground-floor home by Nic Howett Architect was selected as the overall winner from a shortlist of 15 revealed in April. It was praised by the jury for demonstrating "how a very high standard of craftsmanship can be achieved with a low budget".

"The Secret Garden is full of surprises," said judge Marie-Louise Schembri, who is sustainability director at engineering consultant Hilson Moran. "This beautiful home in a very busy and dense urban part of London feels like an oasis and has consolidated existing neighbourhood and family communities," she continued. "The transformation process tells a story of vision, perseverance, collaboration and organic growth."

Now in its 13th year, Don't Move Improve! Awards is an annual competition held by New London Architecture (NLA) to celebrate the best home improvement projects from across the UK's capital. The design of this year's winning project, Secret Garden, was led by its founder Nic Howett who lives there with his family.

The project involved the remodelling of a small awkward flat in Southwark, with the aim of maximising space and shifting the focus of its primary living areas from the road to the garden. It included an extension with a bedroom as well as the addition of a secluded garden studio for working from home, all self-built by Howett and his team using a palette of simple materials including timber.


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Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
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