This week’s reading: Ben Watson on Derek Bailey, and then Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden.
Derek Bailey – uniquely cantankerous and single-minded improvising guitarist, from Sheffield, died ten years ago – worked for years in dance bands and doing pop sessions, but eventually pursued his own vision, uncompromising, and yet always open to people who were similarly open – not background music at all, always in the moment, spiky, provocative. And an excellent book by the extremely opinionated Ben Watson, always keen to bring in Marx and Adorno and Zappa, and Leeds. I come away wondering how some people manage to be so decisive, so clear, taking a position with such certainty. Maybe there’s still time.
And then Glenn Greenwald writing about the process of meeting Edward Snowden (in Hong Kong) in genuine cloak-and-dagger rendezvous, and all that was then revealed. The level of surveillance is so huge, and all those Seattle/silicon valley internet radicals are sucked into it, allowing their systems to be co-opted – google, apple, facebook, microsoft, skype – it makes me want to leave them all. No doubt this is another one. I looked up Glenn G’s newish website https://theintercept.com/ – which I see is partly funded by the owner of Ebay – there’s a thing! Perhaps it will provide a supplement to the increasingly frustrating Guardian. Mr G is a quintessentially American radical, everything is very closely argued, and there’s always a sense of surprise and disappointment at how somehow the founding ideals of the USA (always used to justify USA actions) continue to be abused and misused and betrayed so blatantly. And the question is, how many people care enough? And in relation to internet/communications surveillance, enormous as it is, how many people care enough? All of our communications are potentially available to be sifted through and examined. It’s not a good thought.