Work In Progress Seminar with Assoc. Prof. John Phillips


Topic: Pop Music (John Cage, Elvis and 2NE1)
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. John Phillips

This talk is an overview of the meaning of the "popular" in the evolving context of pop music from the early days of the twentieth century to the present. The word popular, implying the communal, practical and often political activities of a people, has evolved during more than a century of rapid media development. I aim to show why there exist invariable principles behind what may be called the pop music event (e.g., Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Bob Marley, Utada Hikaru, S Club7, 2NE1). The talk puts critical theory to work with a selection of pertinent cases to show the argument of the book I am currently writing.

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.