Consider yourself
and everyone around you
as consummate practicers

refining ways of being,
honing their speaking tones and counterpoint gestures,
assuming the sound and the movement
of who and what they want to be

we’re practicing all the time,
practicing the patterns
of what we can’t yet play.

Resonant Thoughts: On Simon Critchley’s “What We Think About When We Think About Soccer” (2017)


On phenomenology:

Phenomenology is the attempt “to get close, as close as possible, to the grain, texture, and existential matrix of experience as it is given, and to allow words to echo that experience in a way that might allow us to see it in a new light, under a changed aspect” (17).

On rhythm:

“The rhythm of football is…a legato, a smooth, emerging and subtle flow of time. Football is about shifts in the experience of time. These are shifts in the intensities of experience, when time is revealed—when that moment of moments occurs—to be something malleable, plastic, and elastic” (28).

A Forest Xylophone Plays Bach

This is a charming video, but it also illustrates some deeper ideas:

Composition. It shows how a piece of music can be rendered on an unusual instrument and remain recognizable.

Instrument. It shows how a musical instrument can be fashioned out of descending wooden steps and a falling ball.

Agency. It shows that a music “performance” need not have a human performer.

Context. It shows a world of tempered melody set against a forest soundscape.

Searches That Brought You Here


What is the frequency spectrum of a hip hop kick. This search brought you to my 2012 post on bass frequency-heavy Beats By Dre headphones. What I wrote still seems to apply to why people wear them:

“How to explain the popularity of the Beats? One explanation is that our bass-heavy musics–hip hop and also other varieties of electronic dance music especially–really shine and thrum with the bass turned way up. It just feels good to listen to those musics like this. Riding that slow oscillating wave of bass throb goodness it can almost feel like you’re floating. Another more pragmatic explanation is that the noisy soundscapes of the city require us to either plug our ears, wear noise-canceling headphones, or otherwise compete with booming bass. From what I see around me, a lot of listeners are choosing the bass option.”

Quotes from ordinary affects. This search brought you to my 2010 post on anthropologist Kathleen Stewart’s subtly observed book, Ordinary Affects. I wrote:

“Yet another way to think about ordinary affects is to think about your own everyday experience, especially in terms of those moments when you suddenly realize something is happening (or just happened): a micro-turning point, a significance emerging, a time made present, a potential revealed, a feeling made palpable.”

It sounds fake when I sing. This search brought you to my 2012 post on how we know when a singer is singing in a “fake voice.” Amy Winehouse was one the examples. I wrote:

“What does Barrow mean by singing with a ‘fake voice’? How do we know when a singer’s or instrumentalist’s artistry is fake or authentically the real McCoy? And what does it mean to change one’s singing voice while remaining oneself?”