Hello, my name's Craig Schuftan, I'm an author, broadcaster and radio producer from Sydney, Australia, currently living in Berlin. I've written three books on music and popular culture; The Culture Club (2007), Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone! (2009) and Entertain Us! The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the 90s, which was published in June 2012. My documentary series, Love in the 90s, was broadcast by ABC Radio National in 2014.
When I'm not writing books and producing radio, I'm lecturing, teaching, writing essays, talking about disco on TV, and making music with my band, Ducks!
This is my website, designed and constructed by my very talented friends at Paste. It looks a bit like a painting by Piet Mondrian, but instead of revealing the hidden order of the universe, it reveals the messy prehistory of pop music, the precise history of things, and the top speed of a wind-up penguin. There's a complete archive of triple j Culture Club radio stories, some videos of me talking about philosophy and disco, and a blog. Over here on the left you'll find illustrated excerpts from my books, here you can see some very nice pictures from the 'Entertain Us!' book launch, and somewhere in that box over there there's an 80s revival mix tape, some photos from my psychogeographic excursion to Hornsby, and a copy of that record with the guy saying "beat bang beat beat bang" on it. This is where I keep radio and print interviews, and here's that picture of me wearing a wig for the 'Blow Parade' album cover. Can I offer you a moth?
"Music was now an object that could be owned by the individual and used at his own convenience... Now the Symphony of a Thousand could play to an audience of one. Now a man could hear nocturnes at breakfast, vespers at noon, and the Easter Oratorio on Channukah. He could do his morning crossword to 'One O'Clock Jump', and make love right through the St Matthew Passion. Anything was possible; nothing was sacred; freedom was absolute. It was the freedom, once the cathedral of culture had been wrecked, to take home the bits you liked and arrange them as you please. Once again, a mechanical invention had met capitalism's need to recreate all of life in its image. The cathedral of culture was now a supermarket."
Evan Eisenberg, 1987
wu-tang clan | shaolin | age of mechanical reproduction | aura | ritual | art | artists
"What if I tell you now that I have often longed even for plays I have seen performed - frequently the very ones which bored me most - or for books I have read in the past and did not like at all? If that is not madness, there's no such thing."
"And you must not let yourself be misled, in your solitude, by the fact that there is something in you that wants to escape from it. This very wish will, if you use it quietly and pre-eminently and like a tool, help to spread your solitude over wide country. People have (with the help of convention) found the solution of everything in ease, and the easiest side of ease; but it is clear that we must hold to the difficult; everything living holds to it, everything in nature grows and defends itself according to its own character and is an individual in its own right, strives to be so at any cost and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to the difficult is a certainty that will not leave us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; the fact that a thing is difficult must be one more reason for our doing it."
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904
rainer maria rilke | kate bush
'Acousmatic, the Larousse dictionary tells us, is the 'name given to the disciples of Pythagoras who for five years, listened to his teachings while he was hidden behind a curtain, without seeing him, while observing a strict silence.' Hidden from their eyes, only the voice of their master reached the disciples.... In ancient times, the apparatus was a curtain; today, it is the radio and methods of reproduction, along with the entire set of electro-acoustic transformations, that place us, modern listeners to an invisible voice, under similar conditions.'
Pierre Schaeffer, 'Acousmatics', 1966
pierre schaeffer | musique concrete | sonorous objects | acousmatics | pythagoras | phenomenology | twin peaks | red room
'Imagine a traveller from a hundred years ago arrives at our doorstep and asks us why the music of the 20th century operates so frequently on the basis of cyclic repetition. Not just the rap and dance genres of popular culture, but also minimalism - perhaps the single most viable strand of the Western art music tradition... why does so much of our music work this way? What kind of needs do these patterns satisfy?'
Susan McClary, 1999
stardust | daft punk | susan mcclary | minimalism | loop | chaka kahn | repetition
"Could it be that we come to the city in order to achieve solitude? Such has been the unspoken premise of the modern city of utopian individualism. By solitude I do not mean isolation. Isolation is a state of nature: solitude is the work of culture. Isolation is an imposition, solitude a choice."
walkman | ipod | iphone | isolation | solitude | city | the crowd