…the 1996 book by Joan Retallack (subtitled ‘Cage Muses on Words * Art * Music‘) features fantastic reflections on, interviews with, and poetry by this humane, earthy, soulful, rigorous, funny, free-spirited, creative colossus of the 20th century who has always seemed like one of the critical figures for me to get my head around, but the closer I approach, the more elusive he seems – though this book, which I just started today (recently embarking on a reading binge which is firing me up for something), is making me feel a revelatory connection – and worth the ‘price of admission’ was this quote – his response when asked at a 1988-89 Harvard seminar whether he thought his music had political content “…The performance of music is a public occasion or a social occasion. This brings it about that the performance of a piece of music can be a metaphor of society, of how we want society to be. Though we are not now living in a society which we consider good, we could make a piece of music in which we would be willing to live. I don’t mean that literally, I mean it metaphorically. You can think of the piece of music as a representation of a society in which you would be willing to live.” – yes (and parenthetically it just so happens that my evening was punctuated by a fantastic performance by Academy music fellow, Huck Hodge, with whom I have had a few Cage conversations).