I think of “Radio Generation” as an unusual “single from the album because, as I wrote of the CD: It opens with “Radio Generation,” which has a really cool bouncy guitar riff and bassline. It doesn’t quite display the signature sound that I think of this album as having but it certainly points to it.
“Radar” has even less of the Future Songs feel. It is very sparse, with guitars that sound almost like a Western. The vocals are slow and drawn out and then the spoken word section begins–continuing the meandering nature of the song. The melody is pretty, but this is justifiably a B-side.
[READ: January 7, 2012] “Why I Live at the P.O.”
I read about this story in the D.T. Max David Foster Wallace biography. I’d never read anything by Welty before, and I have no idea if this story is representative of her work.
There’s not a lot of plot to the story, which is probably why it is so successful. Welty constructs a very funny home scenario (one that I actually had a hard time understanding at first because the names of the characters are rather odd–although perhaps not odd to Southerners?) I had to read the first sentence a few times before I could really parse it. It’s not complicated but the names and the dialect are…odd.
I WAS GETTING ALONG FINE with Mama, Papa-Daddy and Uncle Rondo until my sister Stella-Rondo just separated from her husband and came back home again. Mr. Whitaker!
The narrator is Sister, the older and much aggrieved sister of Stella-Rondo. As the opening says, Stella-Rondo has moved back home. And she has arrived with a baby (which she swears is not hers). Sister is put out by the intrusion because she says that Stella-Rondo has always gotten everything she wanted (unlike Sister). We have no direct proof of that although, if Sister’s telling of this story is to be believed, Stella-Rondo is a major instigator trying to get Sister in trouble as soon as she returns. Of course, Sister also tries to get Stella-Rondo in trouble, but her parents don’t seems swayed by her complaints.
But as soon as we hear Stella-Rondo say that Sister has always wondered why Papa-Daddy has never shaved his beard (which he’s had since he was 15 and which Sister would never question out loud) we see that Stella-Rondo is looking to cause trouble. And boy how that makes Papa-Daddy mad (and how that gets Sister in trouble). A further incident happens when Stella-Ronda says that Sister was making fun of Uncle Rondo for the way he was dressed (when we heard Stella-Rondo saying the same things to Sister earlier). Uncle Rondo is furious at the impudence.
And things keep on in that vein until Sister has had enough. She packs up her things (in a scene that was echoed in The Jerk thirty years later)
And I very politely took the sewing-machine motor I helped pay the most on to give Mama for Christmas back in 1929, and a good big calendar, with the first-aid remedies on it. The thermometer and the Hawaiian ukulele certainly were rightfully mine, and I stood on the step-ladder and got all my watermelon-rind preserves and every fruit and vegetable I’d put up, every jar. Then I began to pull the tacks out of the bluebird wall vases on the archway to the dining room.
And then she moves to the P.O.
As I said, there’s not much of a plot; the character development is really the whole story. And it’s wonderful. What a funny, weird story