Sunday, February 15, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, should we expect retroactive apologies from Adam Ant and The Village People? Is Tumbleweeds still running anywhere?

Briefly, Friday's reading. Leonard Schwartz, whose work I've only seen in passing, read from two long series. "Apple Anyone" proceeded by incorporating lists of words that came to English from Arabic -- many you'd expect ("minaret"), some you, or I, wouldn't ("coffee," and most of our names for fruit). Point of that should be fairly obvioius. "Library of Seven Readings" seemed to be a gradual transformation of quoted material -- many repetitions of the phrase "transcendental subject," much stately, one-branch-of-tribe-of-JA diction, not unlike John Koethe. I liked these less. Guy Bennett read all of a short book, Drive To Cluster, which uses a lot of de/re-contextualized dictionary-defs of highly polysemous words, notably "fold," which is never actually used in the text. Went by fast. Also a series subtitled "12 Fortune Cookes for Syd Barrett" -- the line "probing a rift in skiffle" (or nearly that) sticks. Just about all of Guy's work starts from found language, so the tone, if nothing else, is largely determined by the source; this had a very different sound that anything I'd heard of his.

Forgot to register: On drive up to SF, good selection of 3 for $3.33 cassettes at a Grapevine truckstop. 1979 Andrew Hill album, tribute to blues guy Arthur Alexander I don't remember ever seeing (EC, Dan Penn, duet between Frank Black and Gary U.S. Bonds), and whichever Roxette album contains "Harleys & Apaches." Or the other way around -- gave that to John and Peter as a tour gift. Could have picked up some Kylie and Kim Wilde, didn't.

self-reference/Pazz & Jop double alert (but at least it's not about tokenism): On further thought, my sour grapes about Fountains of Wayne don't make much sense; I was alluding to the similarity in theme between "Swivelchair" and some of Welcome Interstate Managers (white collar ennui, not unheard of in rock but not common). But the virtues of two other records in my top 10 -- Hearts of Oak and Electric Version -- don't seem to me entirely different from those of 0pb, and that probably pushed me toward them, rather than away. As in -- well, I'm glad somebody can hit this target better than I could. The comment I wrote on those albums originally began: "I'll sound like an apologist for people exactly like me, but:" -- which I took out before sending. I do seem to have a mild abreaction to Adam Schlessinger's voice; others (xgau and jclo included) have a similar one to Carl and Ted's; and "Bright Future In Sales" just seems a little forced, working too hard to make its point. The one track I love unconditionally is "Hey Julie" -- I assume the resemblance to "Cecilia" is intentional.

Also realized that I actually bought 6 of the albums on my top 10 -- plus a vinyl copy of Electric Version to check the lyrics. Of course, 'bought' here often means 'bought with trade slips from promos sold.'

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