[Landline] All you need is your library card
and sometimes you don’t even need that
“LANDLINE” — AN EMAIL BULLETIN BY JAY BABCOCK
FRIDAY, FEB. 11, 2022
1. A SUDDEN MOVE
A culture enthusiast friend had to completely vacate their premises in a single weekday recently. When you’re spending hours hurriedly boxing what’s basically an institution-level archive of recorded music accumulated over the last 30-plus years—a collection that’s in jeopardy of being seized and trashed—you get a chance to contemplate how special it is to be in the presence of a lovingly curated batch of good stuff, and how easily, and quickly, it can all be lost. Archives—libraries—of physical stuff are precious, even in our hybrid digital-analog age. They have a scent. They fill gaps; they complete stories; they enrich. So we must bless the enthusiast—the keeper of the cultural flame—and assist them in their hours of need. Especially the ones who’ve made a practice of sharing what they’ve found—who aren’t mere hoarders or collectors…
2. WHEN YOU MOTORIK AWAY
A very generous krautrocker has posted a seamless loop of Neu!’s immortal, galloping Hallogallo on YT. Hallogallo used to be ten minutes. Now it’s ten glorious hours. Good for exercise, good for maintaining focus/concentration beyond the usual 40-minute limit—whatever you are doing when it starts playing you will still be doing, enthusiastically, an hour (or ten) later.
3. PUNK ZINES, RECOVERED
Ryan Richardson of Austin, Texas, clearly a major dude, has made digital copies of insanely significant yet hard-to-find foundational regional punk/art zines available online, for free, at
SLASH (Los Angeles, 1977-1980) - 29 issues [complete]
NO MAG (Los Angeles, 1978-1985) - 14 issues [complete]
DAMAGE (San Francisco, 1979-1981) - 13 issues [complete]
DRY (New York, 1979-1982) - 14 issues [complete]
BOSTON ROCK (Boston, 1980-1984) - first 50 issues [incomplete]
I spent a serious amount of time in Covid Year One examining Slash and No Mag. This was an eye-opener. Even a quick look at a year’s worth of Table of Contents of zines like these can do a better job than oral histories or documentary films in giving you a deep, immersive feel for an era/scene in question. Zines are imperfect first drafts of history—of course!—but thick with fact, context, and (sometimes) gorgeous writing, photography, art and design. And ads, too. Browse, skim, go deep… it’s easy to get lost in a great, restorative way.
And! I got a large charge this last week from the Contextual Dissemination project, a newish archive of vintage punk zines. “We do not pretend to have every punk zine ever made but we have quite an archive,” they say. Indeed. I have not ventured into this archive too much yet but it looks promising. Get in! Kudos to whoever it is who’s doing this.
Landline readers are encouraged to send me tips on particularly hot stuff from these collections so I can pass them on to the larger Landline public. And if you can contribute to these efforts, do! This is Good Work.
4. LIBRARIES GAVE US POWER / WIN THIS CULTURE WAR
Public libraries are one of the last utopian spaces that are state-sponsored in this country, and as such deserve the support and enthusiastic patronage of every leftypants and/or culture nerd. Even if you’re at a place in your life where you can afford to buy books at will, get a library card. And use it. Check out quality books in quantity, regularly, even if you don’t have time to read them. Fill out the simple forms to recommend Additions to the Permanent Collection. When you do this stuff, you will see the library shift. Why? Because many (most?) large library bureaucracies in this country are set up to directly respond to patron use and feedback. Library administrators use increases in patron use and participation (that is: checking out books, making recommendations, etc) as a way to demonstrate value to elected officials who hold the pursestrings. Inside library systems, surges in patron use and participation raise the branch’s profile; a successful branch gets a bigger budget. Which means more hours of operation, maybe, and more (and better) books purchased, definitely. That’s good for the authors, it’s good for the publishers. And it’s good for the local readers — your neighbors!— who have titles put in front of them that they might not otherwise see—for free.
Incredible! Public libraries, what a resource. Utopian.
5. IN THIS HOUSE WE USE KANOPY DOT COM
Many large public library systems and universities in this country are now making massive online archives available to home patrons. Here in Tucson, Arizona we have access to kanopy.com, which streams films on demand, for free. For whatever reason, Kanopy offers a ridiculous range of tasty stuff—we currently have 58 documentaries, art films, foreign films, short films, domestic feature films on my watchlist. In just the last couple months we’ve screened:
Kinda crazy, eh? I don’t completely understand how a service this good could be available for free, but then again, it’s rare that I understand much of anything these days. In any event, this house is a happy Kanopy house.
6. MEET LA MONSTRE
Kanopy can’t do it all, and I don’t know what’s happened to good ol’ guerrilla film netcaster Cinephobe, who’ve been down for a few months now.
Picking up the slack is an online service I only just heard about this week. These people have been streaming curated 12-hour programs of feature films on the web for almost two years and the playlists are just brilliant. As I’m not sure if this service is…licensed?…I’m going to put information about it behind the paywall below. Paying Landline subscribers will be able to see it. Landline subscriptions are $5/month, $40/year cheep.
If you can’t afford to subscribe right now, and want to read on, no worries, please don’t hesitate to let me know privately by replying to this email and I will personally escort you through the paywall. All good!