Monday, August 30, 2004

Far from the action, notes from a university bookstore.

Had noticed You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon previously, on '30s singers. Had not noticed that it's by Lenny Kaye, of all people. Despite the subject matter, unmistakeably Rock Writing: First chapter opens, "I'm cruising along the interstate when I first hear his story. Predawn." At a random glance, reads like Tosches. Thick and researched-looking, though.

You -- you with The Artist's Way and the cellphone. Go.

Ran across Tweedy's book, Adult Head, from Zoo Press. (Who recently cancelled a fiction contest after accepting fees, b/c they couldn't find one single MS they liked.) I was expecting, oh, Amhersty, a little flashy. It's not that; no caps, a number of poems center-justified, tortured ("I have replaced my disorders/with a passion so deep and pervasive.") Those lines aren't entirely indicative -- a lot of it is very pared down, except for a prose poem called "The Bench-Warmer's Daughter." I'm surprised to see self-lacerating 'rock star' poems -- "I caught a glimpse of myself/in a closed-circuit television screen//I was wearing a hat/a fraud/a punctured white watch//I hadn't changed." It doesn't look like he wrote this primarily to be Taken Seriously. Good for him -- it's not going to destroy anything if Jeff Tweedy writes poems, nothing worth leaving standing, anyway.

You with Habits of Very Effective People and the cellphone. You go too. (Oh, she did! Fine.)

Tempted by Susan Howe's The Midnight; Monica Youn's Barter (the poems I glanced at looked tightly wound; backed by the usual "Notes"; apparently, she's an entertainment lawyer by trade, and I'm good with any halfway interesting poet who's not either an academic or a musician); Barthes' The Semiotic Challenge and The Responsibility of Forms, possibly just b/c I'm surprised to see them in stock; Johathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema: On The Necessity of Film Canons (interesting critic -- Chicago? -- given to bitterness; wrote the one helpful thing on Celine and Julie I've seen; I'll look for this cheaper). But there are too many unread items at home; settle for film issue of Conjunction.

[Before I forget them, business names seen in Orange County last night, on way home from second cousin's housewarming: "The Earl's Plumbing," with an icon of a Brit noble looking more like the Monopoly guy, and "Melange, Etc.," (couldn't tell what they sold). There were two good donut shop names too, but, see, I've forgotten already.

Embroidered patch on cousin's 13-year-old daughter's purse. "Mrs. Timberlake." Her mom's about 10 years older than me; funny thing is, for a while when I was in high school, she loaned me the first 6 Monkees LPs for a while -- I think there were hearts drawn by the songs Mickey sang. You will never catch me turning up my nose at "Clarksville," "Words," "Valleri," "Star Collector," "She Hangs Out" ("How old did you say your sister was?"), "Take A Giant Step." The daughter had a bunch of That's What I Call Musics; I was very tempted to ask her to burn me her picks.

First time I've seen family in weeks; my dad, born in 1930, told me about being shown Seargant York and Pride of the Yankees in junior high -- just in case WWII was still on in 1948, one guesses.]

Song of which I can express loathing without much fear of contradiction, though surprises are always possible: Bowling For Soup, "1985."

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