by carl wilson

Check that Maxim!

Writing about music is not "like dancing about architecture." It's like architecture about dancing.

| Posted by zoilus on Friday, December 16 at 09:20 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (15)



Posted by John on January 7, 2006 05:51 AM



I was being cheeky when I suggested modern+ugly. Like I said, I like the clash. More fun than being in a perfect city.

One of the places I stayed at was very near the base of that tower, interestingly enough. I kind of like it, too, though it's that very tower that led someone to tell me that everything ugly in Prague was the Soviets' fault.

Posted by Canadian Bystander on December 19, 2005 11:25 AM



Modern doesn't mean ugly, any more than around means in or banjo means happy. Find me an ugly building in Prague and I'll be sad. But also happy. Because content.

I even like this,
alien babies and all.

Posted by Dixon on December 19, 2005 11:00 AM



Hey Dixon: Go to hell. Or Prague. Or rather, wherever makes you less jumpy than you are right now. Wow. I thought banjo players are supposed to be happy all the time - that's the impression I get from old Steve Martin albums, anyway.

If you take a moment to re-read my offending post, you'll see I was actually defending Prague by presuming that its uglier neighbourhoods were built to Soviet standards, ie not reflective of the desires of Praguers.

And anyway, there are quite a few ugly (meaning modern) buildings right in the middle of Prague - it's a living city, so this is bound to happen. The layering is what makes it interesting.

So please relax - I heart Praha, ok?

Posted by Canadian Bystander on December 18, 2005 11:57 PM



There's a bigger difference between "in Prague" and "immediately around the city" than can be contained in that funny little rhetorical device "or rather." "Or rather" might be replaced with "Oh no, I'm wrong, why did I even say that? Sorry for my fuzzy thinking. Here, let me start again." CB is insulting the city for no discernable reason than I can see. Suburbs are ugly in lots of cities. Most. When Prague first expanded, it came to contain lots of pretty little villages. If you want to see the city, go to Troja. Go to Liben. Go to Lower Sharka. Go to Dejvice. Go to Letna. Go to Vysehrad. Fred and Ginger's in the New Town, right downtown. There are lots of beautiful neighbourhoods in Prague that are still Prague and not the Soviet suburbs "immediately around the city." God damn it.

Here's a little story about the Praguers' response to Soviet city planning:

Posted by Dixon on December 18, 2005 01:09 PM



i've always been under the impression that it was thelonius monk who said it.

Posted by rob on December 18, 2005 10:58 AM



PS - The first pop music that seemed like it was also music criticism? Dylan for sure, although he totally tries to hide it. I'm watching NO DIRECTION HOME for the first time. Wow.

Posted by zoilus on December 18, 2005 05:43 AM



Yeah, it sounds far more like Zappa than Costello to me. Costello is one of those artists whose music basically IS music criticism, a lot of the time.

Regardless of who said it, Sean's exactly right: What the hell would be bad about dancing about architecture? I bet it's out there.

But my point is: Writing is more like architecture than either are like music or dancing. So the phrase is, also, dumb.

Posted by zoilus on December 18, 2005 05:41 AM



Regardless of who originally said it (and I'm fairly sure it predates Costello) the quip about music criticism being like dancing about architecture is an allusion to Goethe's comment that architecture is frozen music. An allusion no one gets, admittedly, but such are the wages of wit...

Posted by J.D. Considine on December 18, 2005 01:08 AM



And literary criticism is farting about shitting. (Not that's there's anything wrong with that, both being quite necessary...)

I remember there being quite a few awful stretches of architecture in Prague, or rather immediately around the city. I always assumed it was all built to some Soviet standard. Not quite as shocking a contrast as in Cesky-Krumlov, where the town proper looks like a tiny little Christmas town (with live bears at the castle and all), and the suburbs (about ten minutes' walk away) look like rows of giant space heaters.

Posted by Canadian Bystander on December 17, 2005 06:57 PM



Cool bldg.

To take the comparison a step further it must be appreciated that there is some pretty awasome music about music writing ("big mouth strikes again" is an obvious example).

Posted by guy Tanentzapf on December 17, 2005 06:42 PM



robert lepage had a piece a while back that i thought was dancing about architecture, i don't recall the name of it but it was a tribute to frank lloyd wright... as i recall some people who thought of it as theatre were disappointed but i thought it was pretty nice "dancing about architecture"

Posted by rob on December 17, 2005 04:27 PM



Oh, I missed the previous comment. In fact, it fits nicely into the row of buildings its in, whose cross-window-designs are just like Fred's, and these buildings might be sterile by Prague standards, but Prague is a thousand years old, so...

(Here the banjos pause to perform a dance...)

And here's Fred and Ginger dancing in context:

Posted by Dixon on December 17, 2005 10:00 AM



I do love that building, tho many of the Praguers do not.

Posted by Dixon on December 16, 2005 11:10 PM



I always find it hilarious when people who dislike music crit bust out that Elvis Costello/Zappa/whoever quote. Because a dance about architecture sounds AWESOME.

the "dancing building" in Prague ("Fred and Ginger" for the American tourists, or so I was told) is great, but really oddly placed within the city, lunging out of a row of fairly sterile buildings in a greyish part of town.

Posted by Sean on December 16, 2005 10:06 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson