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February 1999

Radio Interview. For those of you who get programming from CBC Radio Two, you may have heard an interview and overview piece about Public Works that was broadcast Sunday night, February 7, between 6:30 and 8:00 PM. CBC interviewer James Booth phoned up Ralph Johnson at his home one day and pried his brain about our ideas and works. Ralph obliged by holding forth on topics as various as love, death, taxes, and the high cost of hair styling. When we get an air check, and if it seems suitable, we may make the text of the interview available on this site.

Power to the imagination. A certain wistful nostalgia for our earlier pseudo-‘anti’-situationist-‘inspired’ activities makes it feel necessary to alert readers to this opportunity for enlightenment (or other). For slogans like—

Be realistic, demand the impossible.

It’s painful to submit to our bosses; it’s even more stupid to choose them.

No forbidding allowed.

When examined, answer with questions.

— visit the Bureau of Public Secrets, which features selections from Ken Knabb’s ‘Situationist International Anthology’ (translations from the notorious group that helped trigger the May 1968 revolt) and from ‘Public Secrets,’ the recent collection of Knabb’s own writings, including ‘The Joy of Revolution,’ ‘Confessions of a Mild-Mannered Enemy of the State,’ among others. New texts are being added every few days.

‘Music with Sound’ now available as mp3

Music with Sound Our never ending struggle continues as we bring to this web site another collection of mp3s, this time representing the track sequence of our second major work, 1990’s Music with Sound, somewhat lightly revised by Public Works for the 1997 re-issue. When people think of The Tape-beatles this is the sound they usually think of: a somewhat slap-dash, at times even ham-fisted, approach that certainly takes advantage of serendipity and yet manages to offer a witty and deft commentary on the state of human intelligence in the last half of the 20th century. Media refuse, cultural driftwood, and audio detritus are skillfully woven into one Big Good Thing. Get some insight into the lads-from-Iowa’s you-neek world view — hear this trenchant, ground-breaking work for free by getting the mp3s. Consider supporting future output by the group by purchasing the CD. As if that weren’t enough, Music with Sound is also available as LP Picture Disk.

Stay tuned, there is a lot more to come.

‘A subtle buoyancy of pulse’ available as mp3

A subtle buoyancy of pulse We have no excuse. This web site has existed for over a year; we are staunch believers in the unimpeded flow of information. Now we find that, sticking deep in the craw of a music industry that no one with any ‘street cred’ would dare defend comes a new challenger. Everyone is talking about it. It’s fast. It’s efficient. It is liberating and has life-transformative potential. You’d think they would be a natural graft onto our living breathing platform. Yet where are our mp3’s?

The answer is simple and immediately forthcoming. They are here. At least, for our first release A subtle buoyancy of pulse, they are. This, the first major work by The Tape-beatles, finds them running slipshod over the detritus of cultural bin-leavings too numerous to mention, or even bring to mind at this late date. Funny? You betcha. ‘You have to hear it to believe it,’ says Dame Mae Whitty, from the front porch of her Iowa City bungalow. We agree with Mae, and you will, too.

Like this one, the rest of our CDs will be processed in their entireties into this new format. You will find them here when the time comes, as well. Keep those cards and letters coming. We’d love to hear from you.

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