Letters from Rosie 1
Tomorrow, i’m going to see Jandek. I’m in the mood to see Jandek, so it’s fortuitous that he’s touring Northern Ireland at the minute. He will hum and kern and i will sit and listen. I’ve been thinking about what you’ve been thinking about – criticism. A few meandering thoughts here and there, Nothing academic, I’m afraid. I’m watching Jandek On Corwood, the documentary, at the minute. There’s a bunch of musos deconstructing Jandek, trying to describe the sound, talking about
it’s ‘negative space’, pontificating on the artist’s mental state.
Jandek is a curiosity because he has released an enormous number of records and yet remains in relative obsurity. But i find myself thinking, ‘what’s the big mystery?’ If you’re socially awkward and shy, the thought of having to acknowledge the outside world provokes panic. When it comes to engaging with yr critics, you’re scared you’re going to look stupid, or be uncovered as a charlatan, even if they’re sympathetic. You find yrself wondering, ‘How did they come up with that just from listening to my music?’ But the people who consume the criticism and the artistic output, they are thinking the critic and
the artist have some common ground, that they understand each other. That’s what’s so funny. I bet there’s a good diagram in there.
Jandek’s been doing his thing since 1978, and he keeps doing it, but that’s not remarkable considering the average person’s pathological inclination towards habit-forming and routine. People don’t change. Smokers keep smoking, procrastinators keep procrastinating, loners continue to spend lots of time alone. Of course he’s gonna keep… just doing what he’s doing. And you can create quite a strong idea of a personality by saying nothing, especially when it’s your turn to speak.