Tuesday, January 29, 2008

as if!

so anyway, as requested, a brief note follows on "as if" and "as though".

there is nothing to be dogmatic about here. usage is fluid. but the careful may distinguish "as if" and "as though" as follows.

obviously, use "as if!" when you want to express incredulity. no other phrase does it so effectively.

the key difference between "as if" and "as though" would seem to be that the former is generally used to described impossible states, the latter to describe possible, but not actual, states.


"She spoke to me as if I were a child."
"She spoke to me as though she was drunk."

easy. or is it?

the latter is often rendered by "like" in spoken English, but using "like" in even slightly formal contexts, which would include nearly all writing, would be a terrible solecism, making you prey to pedants, who would feast on your carcass as if you were a boiled chicken.

notice that the last part of that sentence is a bit awkward. you could and probably should use "as though" there, even though it's not possible for you to be a chicken, because "as though" does not have quite the restricted use that i suggested. it is used for comparisons of states, to create similes between them. one state is always, i think, what you might call the indicative state -- how things are -- and the other is the state compared to. "as if" can do similar work, but its "subjunctive" state -- if we can call it that -- must be impossible.

in constructions such as "as if i could do that!", which express impossibility, "as though" is entirely incorrect. however, "he looked at me as though i could do it" would be correct, because you are describing how he is looking at you in terms of a state that doesn't pertain but that you claim to be similar. "As if" would be entirely wrong here.

i hope that hasn't muddied the waters of these terms too much. as if your old buddy dr zen would do that, eh!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


so anyway, we are in the carpark outside Maccas (don't start--my kids are normal, unexceptional kids, and they--Zenella, anyway--likes to go from time to time) and some guy is going you need to watch your door; it's cut into my car.

and i'm thinking what? because i haven't touched the door but then i see that naughtyman is in his seat. and he will fling a door open.

zenita is saying, what's the man saying? and i say, he says he parked his car too near to ours.

he parked his car near to ours? she bellows. is that what you're saying to him?

zenita is a good talker. she's clear as a bell.

don't shout it at him, darling. i wonder whether it's worth bothering to try to explain why people mutter instead of announcing what they're thinking like a town crier, but just don't seems to fit just as well.

and i'm looking at the guy's door, and there's a dint in it, sure enough. but he's inside Maccas and he didn't seem that bothered.

the car shudders and rattles on the way home. it's going to the workshop on Monday. i am glad to be busy at the moment. the car is sounding expensive.

it's what you might call a lemon. a dog. a bomb. if it had been as advertised, what the money i paid for it should have bought, it would have been a decent family car. but it's cost me a pretty penny in repairs. stupid shit mostly, but things that the seller would have known about.

the aircon motor is very loud. it's not supposed to be; aircon is not meant to make a low grinding sound.

the car is sounding prohibitive.


so i'm listening to that in rainbows album by radiohead. but the problem is that i've always found them dreary. i know they're supposed to be geniuses, kings of new prog crossover, all that, and i suppose i should like them more, but they write dull songs. i own ok computer, but it's not something i often play. the rest of their albums just haven't appealed. and this album is more of the same. there are a couple of decentish tracks, but they are lost in a morass of studenty whingery.

in comparison, enter by Russian Circles was revelationary. when i first listened to it, i felt i had taken a journey.

that reads a bit, you know, yak, but it didn't stand still, iykwim. a lot of postrock is quite static (floaty, if you like) but Russian Circles do a workout, not pretend to be a chamber quartet.

it's a bit heavier than i normally go in for. by heavy, i mean metal. i'd say it's right on the border, straddling postrock and postmetal. where bands like Mogwai and Mono have a ramped-up "indie" guitar sound (by which i mean they are postpostpunk more than postrock as such), Russian Circles are postMegadeth. or something a bit more crunchy, because the robust powerchording is more heavy rock than power metal.

but the feel is pure postrock. the tunes evolve, shift, engage you then pull you into another mood.

i found them through a prog rock site. i was looking for reviews of God is an Astronaut, and the site had reviews of tons of postrock bands. i suppose postrock is a type of prog. and i realise that i have become enough of a fogey to like the bastard sons of the rock that the punks i idolised blew away. oh well.

God is an Astronaut? when i was a kid, my mum used sometimes to get hold of "meditation" tapes and new-agey music. this was a genre of music you'd never hear of unless you frequented new age shops or got the catalogue from, was it?, Thorsons. it sounded a bit like real music, but with all the peak and trough taken out. God is an Astronaut are exactly like that. the problem is, i think, that the rock guitar begs to kick arse. if you let it kick arse, it becomes superb; it enters its element and does the thing it does best. the jeanmicheljarresque synth that GiaA indulge in does not and cannot kick arse. it barely even tickles arse. so the guitar must be reined in.

reining in the guitar is okay in pop, where the voice reigns. but this is rock, and the voice is someone going aaaaah in...

at this point, a man in southeast brisbane was seen to drift away in a haze. if you thought that the post was going to become more interesting, you are fooling yourself.