A few months ago, I was supposed to be in Italy this week for a totalism festival at Bari Conservatory. That got canceled or postponed due to massive administrative changes at the Conservatory, so maybe it will happen later, or not.
So instead I accepted an offer to lecture at Coloquio PAC in Oaxaca, Mexico, a symposium on contemporary artistic production. Paul Griffiths, José Wolffer, and I will be the speakers on music, and I am supposed to talk for 45 minutes about (clear throat) The State of Music – something I feel I currently know nothing about, except that the public state of music excludes just about any musical ideas I could imagine ever taking an interest in. I’ve got some Usual Things to Say and bits from my blog, and I have to leaven the whole with enough humor and optimism to not become an old man’s rant. I once saw Luciano Berio, whose music I respect and sometimes love, give an old man’s rant about how everything was going to hell, and it was not edifying. Luckily the target of my diatribe is not (and never is) Young People Today but rather the reigning corporate dictatorship which is guaranteed to warp or marginalize any honest musical impulse, and I am hardly the only writer around demonizing that particular bugbear. And if I succumb to gloom, Oaxaca is rumored to be the world center for mole and tequila, two things that could cheer me up even in the direst circumstances.