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Critics of our postmodern age love to point out that the invention of the popular, portable, personal music systems in the late 1970s contributed to an increasingly fragmented and walled-off social formation.  In a typical “get off my lawn” moment, they neglect the fact that the development of mass transit in the 1800s already underscored this urban fragmentation that had been in full effect for, oh, thousands of years.  All the invention of the iPod and similar devices did was extend the variety that was available to each commuter.  The question is how to put this variety to the service of full sensory effect.  Hence the following Authoritative Running Downhill Guide to Early Morning Elevated or Subway or Surface Train Commute Music:

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Longtime reader(s?) of this blog will know that I have something of a soft spot for films that don’t really give much of a damn about plot or story.  I may be the only person who seriously considers Le Mans (1971, D: Lee Katzin/Steve McQueen; see article on the film here) every time he tries to assemble a top ten list of films in his head.  I am often drawn to films which illuminate action and motion and exteriority.

Luckily for me, the Nightingale Theatre in Chicago programmed a film that could be said to be a spiritual cousin to Le Mans.  This film is entitled Fußball wie noch nie (Football As Never Before) (1970, D: Hellmuth Costard).  It was a privilege to see it, as no prints of the film exist in the USA, and the only way to see it is on a DVD from the Göthe Institute in Boston.  FWNN is a doumentary that centers on George Best (“In the role of a lifetime!”), winger for Manchester United.

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In continuing the trend of spreading the RD seed across the internet, Ted has written a piece for the lovely Fredorrarci’s lovely Sport Is a TV Show blog.  It is about soccer and Gary Cahill.  Enjoy.

More to come in the following days; never you worry.

The following conversation is real, and concerns the exploits of a photographer whose work can be examined at the daily photo weblog WHITEBLACKRED: PHOTOS OF MY DAYS. To protect the subjects, their names have been changed. The photographer, will be referred to here as Person(s) A, while the critic will be referred to here as Person(s) X. Person(s) M was unavailable for discussion.

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We’re Nationwide

Okay, not really. We’re hardly even right here most of the time. But in at least this one instance, we’re happy to share that Benjamin Kumming has an account of the history of soccer in the United States between the collapse of the NASL and the rise of MLS, over ‘pon yon Pitch Invasion.

There was a time in my life when music from the 1980s, by and large, was something to be avoided.  Put aside the torn jeans, the hair, the bangles/Bangles, and the fluorescent colors for the moment.  It was the sound itself.  The synth bleeps and blips, the electronic drums, the chorused out guitars, all of this sound heavily processed…I couldn’t stand any of this stuff.  It made no matter if it was Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver, Guns n’ Roses, Madonna, or Prince.  I simply didn’t want to hear it.

Something shifted, though.  Whereas before the production on most music of my early years (1981-88 or ’89) felt sterile and boring, over the past few years, those same records have all started to take on aspects which (I hesitate to use the word “nostalgia”) remove me from my immediate/imminent life.  I cannot tell if this is due to the distance I have from the ubiquity of that sound, or due to changes in my own psyche and ears, but either way, there is no denying it.  My relationship with music from the eighties has blossomed from one based on indifference and vague loathing to one based on emotional attachment.

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The guy who reads at Running Downhill reviews something actually published within the last 12 months. It just so happens to be a 336 page definition of the work “injustice.” Happy Holidays. Continue Reading »