Posted in Biography, Don Bartlett, Excerpt, Foreign Books, Harper's, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Karl Ove Knausgård, Soccer, The Afghan Whigs, Translation on March 21, 2013 |
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SOUNDTRACK: THE AFGHAN WHIGS-”I’m Her Slave” (Live at the Bowery Ballroom 2012).
I really liked some of The Afghan Whigs’s songs back in the 90s. There was other stuff I didn’t love by them–when they were on, they were amazing. Of course, I feel like the Whigs were pretty much all the work of Greg Dulli–charismatic frontman with the intriguing voice.
When they disbanded or broke up or whatever, I didn’t mind so much. But they have reunited recently and my friend Joe posted this video from last year’s tour. I don’t really know this song that well (although I do have the Congregation album i was more of a Gentlemen fan), but it sounds great. And apparently this is one of the songs they were trotting out (they played it on Fallon, but the video has been taken down).
Dulli’s voice still has that wonderful quality and the band sounds tight and loud here. Seems like a good reunion.
[READ: March 19, 2013] “Limhansfältet”
This excerpt comes from Knausgaard’s (also spelled Knausgård’s) second volume of his six-volume autobiographical novel (wow!). I have no idea who the guy is or why we’d want to read it. Evidently Knausgård is quite famous in his native Norway. Don Bartlett translated this from the Norwegian.
So this excerpt shows a very short time in the writer’s life (knowing it’ autobiographical makes it different somehow). The writer is married, a father of four (although evidently now, he is divorced and his wife is mad t her portrayal in the books). The first few paragraphs just kind of talk about what’s going on around him (but it is more compelling than that sounds somehow). I liked the scene where he is sitting so still in the garden that a hedgehog crept past him (but then I like hedgehogs). But the crux of the action occurs at Limhansfältet, a grassy area outside of town where men gather every Sunday to play football. They have gathered since the 60s and the men range from 18 to 80.
On this one occasion his family came with him. They watched for a bit but then wandered off. And they missed him get injured. Injured so badly that he had to go to the hospital. (more…)
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SOUNDTRACK: CHVRCHES-”The Mother We Share” (SXSW, March 23, 2013).
This year NPR doesn’t seem to be offering many full shows from SXSW for download. But they do have a number of streaming songs. And since I have recently reduced the amount of time I can dedicate to posts, I’m going to talk about a few songs rather than albums for a bit.
I’ve never heard of Chvrches although NPR leads me to believe they have a buzz around them. They’re from Glasgow (I like the Glasgow scene), but this song is really way too poppy for me. At least in this live incarnation, it’s so spare and keyboardy. The lead singer has a great voice but it is firmly placed in the pop realm (especially with the Oh Oh Ohs).
The band is good though, and I enjoyed the synth guy making most of the sounds of the song. I’d be curious to hear more (especially t hat cover of “Purple Rain.” Watch it here.
[READ: March 18, 2013] “A Delicate Truth”
I have never read John Le Carré before. Indeed, I don’t typically read any kind of spy/thriller type books. I realized recently that I like mysteries but I don’t have a lot of time for hard spy novels (if I may use the language of sci-fi to describe a spy novel–perhaps spy-fi?).
We recently watched some of Skyfall (the Redbox had to go back so we didn’t finish it–I think I’m not down with the Redbox, it’s just as inconvenient as a video store), so this British spy-fi story seemed nicely timed.
This was an excerpt from Le Carré’s forthcoming book. And regardless of the story itself, I’m delighted that it was a self-contained excerpt. It is a mission and the mission ends by the end of the chapter Obviously there is a lot more to the book, but I was pleased that the excerpt didn’t having any kind of cliffhanger. And now I don’t feel like I have to read anymore of the story.
So this is the story of Paul Anderson or, “Paul Anderson,” a “middle-ranking British civil servant hauled from his desk in one of the more prosaic departments of Her Majesty’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office to be dispatched on a top-secret mission of acute sensitivity.” That pretty much sums up the story and you can tell from that sentence whether or not you’ll like the book. I have no idea if this sort of thing happens in real life at all. And maybe that’s not the point. In the Afterword, Le Carré talks about The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, his first novel, which everyone assumed was all true (he says you know it’s not true because they printed it). And he;s always been annoyed that people think of his as a spy who started writing rather than an author who did some spy work.
So I guess that means he knows of what he speaks. (more…)
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Posted in Christa Wold, Damion Searls, Deftones, Excerpt, Fears, Harper's, Pink Floyd, Spies, Technology, Tool, Translation on February 26, 2013 |
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SOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-White Pony (2000).
I had forgotten how much I loved this album when it came out. It’s been a while since I listened to it but it still sounds great. I remembered thinking Around the Fur was the album that blew me away but it proved to be White Pony. I have the “limited edition” red cover for whatever that’s worth (not much really, although I did get a bonus song). This album really explores their more alternative side, with quiet guitars and very non-metal sounding songs including some trip-hop drums on a track. But there are three or four really heavy songs showing they’re not giving up their heavy roots by any means. It’s a really accomplished and complex album and is definitely a high point in alt-rock.
The album starts with “Fieticeira” which has a cool alt guitar sound (Stephen Carpenter really displays an amazing range on this album) and some lurching verses. The choruses get big and loud (in the way that the Foo Fighters do now), although there is a weird noisy section that keeps it from being a totally polished track. ”Digital Bath” is a dark creepy song where the guitars are nearly as menacing as Chino Moreno’s whispered voice. The drums are actually the loudest instrument and you can hear how intricate the Deftones drumming can be. I haven’t mentioned the other members in the other two write ups and shame on me. Abe Cunningham’s drumming is great–far beyond most metal drummers. But when the bridge kicks in the song lifts up and by the chorus it’s a big vocalled song. ”Elite” shows that the Deftones haven’t given up their heavy side–it’s a loud screaming distorted fast thrasher. It never lets up and by the end the voice is distorted almost beyond human sounds. ”RX Bath” is one of my favorite songs on the disc. It’s slow but with a cool slinky bass (Chi Cheng, always outstanding). ”Street Carp” is a short song–with loud guitars for the verses and a creepy slow chorus that I’ve always loved: “Here’s my new address…six six four oh I forget.”
“Teenager” is the biggest surprise it has a slow acoustic guitars and a kind of trip hop drum beat with glitchy effects. It’s followed by “Knife Party” a song that opens with flanged guitars until the big chords crash in. It’s probably their most commercial sounding song yet, except when after the second chorus Rodleen Getsic starts singing a wild vocal solo (like a crazed version of Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky”), some of the notes she hits are inhuman. ”Korea” returns to the heavy dropped D sound with big noisy guitars and screams. It’s one of their mist abrasive tracks.
“Passenger” is one of two songs that’s over 6 minutes long. It’s a duet with Maynard from Tool–it’s unusual how their voices are so similar They don’t sound alike but they have that same wavery tenor and vulnerability It’s a perfect match. ”Change (In the House of Flies)” starts as a slow slinky song with a big chorus (and a great chorus of Ah ahs which somehow make the song seem even more claustrophobic. It proves to be surprisingly catchy. ”Pink Maggit” ends the disc proper with a beautifully, agonizingly slow guitar and vocal intro–the guitars are buzzy and slow and sound almost out of tune (but aren’t). Chino’s voice strains itself before the song proper starts. I love songs like this when the chorus does one thing and the vocals play a slightly different melody (as if he;s singing a minor note and the guitars are playing a major note), it’s very cool and a little spine tingly. At seven minutes this is a wonderfully claustrophobic alt rocker. The album ends with what sounds like a heart beat (again, another Pink Floyd nod).
The red version has a bonus track called “The Boy’s Republic,” a big heavy song that encapsulates a lot of the album down into one track–the great vocal/guitar interplay, swelling chorus and interesting interplay of the instruments. Even though it’s clearly a bonus song (you don’t have a song that ends with a slow heartbeat and not have it actually end your album), it fits in perfectly with the set and is a real treat.
Even though this album is 13 years old it still sounds fresh and amazing. It really is a masterpiece.
[READ: February 25, 2013] “So Who Could I Tell the Story To”
According to Harper’s this is an excerpt from City of Angels: Or, the Overcoat of Dr. Freud. It was translated by Damion Searls.
The excerpt begins in the middle of a question: “–the story that now needed to be told, even though it wasn’t a story at all?” A very strange opening to be sure, and not as compelling as one might want. And that was how I felt about this whole thing. I wanted to be more excited by it but I never was.
There was something confusing about the whole setup. The narrator is talking to Francesco. But the narrator is talking about and apparently to “you.” So there are lots of you’s floating around but we also know she’s talking to someone. And while it’s all about clandestine behavior, the whole proceeding was confusing. (more…)
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Posted in Adrian Tomine, Africa, Alex Robinson, Alison Bechdel, All Songs Considered, Anarchy, Ander Nilson, Archer Prewitt, Art Spiegelman, Ben Katchor, Books about music, Books about writers, Boredom, Bud Fischer, Bust, Canadian Content, Charles Burns, Charles Schulz, Chester Brown, Chip Kidd, Chris Ware, Chris Ware, Collecting, Comic Strips, Consumerism, Corporate skewering, Culture Shock, Daniel Clowes, David Collier, David Heatley, David Lasky, Death, Debbie Dreschler, Depression, Dreams, Drinking, Drugs, Essays, Esther Pearl Watson, Excerpt, Funny (ha ha), Funny (strange), Gary Panter, Gay/Lesbian, Ghosts, Gilbert Hernandez, Gilbert Shelton, Glen David Gold, Graphic Novel, History, HOB, Huh?, Ira Glass, Ivan Brunetti, Jaime Hernandez, Jeffrey Brown, Jesse Reklaw, Joe Matt. Seth, Joe Sacco, Joel Priddy, John McLenan, John Porcellino, John Updike, John Woodring, Jonathan Bennett, Julie Doucet, Justin Hall, Kaz, Kim Deitch, Kurt Wolfgang, Lili Carré, Lloyd Dangle, Louis Reil, Lynda Barry, Malachi B. Cohen, Mark Beyer, Mark Newgarden, Marriage Trouble, Masturbation, McSweeney's, Memoirs, Michael Chabon, Military, Milt Gross, Oddities, Olivia Schanzer, Parts & Labor, Philip Guston, R. Crumb, Rebecca Dart, Richard McGuire, Richard Sala, Rick Geary, Rodolphe Töpffer, Ron Rege, S. Kierkegaard, Seth Tobocman, Sex, Short Story, Sonic Youth, Supernatural, Surreal, Tim Samuelson, Tom Hart, Violence, Virginity (Loss of), War, William Faulkner, World Cafe Live on January 29, 2013 |
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SOUNDTRACK: PARTS & LABOR-Stay Afraid (2006).
Parts & Labor have changed t heir style over the years going from noisemakers who have a melody to being melodious noisemakers. This album is one of their earlier releases when noise dominated. Right from the opening you know the album is going to be a challenge. The first song has pounding drums (electronics that sound like bagpipes) and heavy distorted shouty vocals. By the end of the songs there is squealing feedback, punk speed drums and screaming distorted vocals (complete with space sound effects). It’s an aggressive opening for sure. Song two opens with a long low rumbling and then ”Drastic Measures” proves to be another fast-paced song.
“A Pleasant Stay” is 5 minutes long (most of the rest of the album’s songs are about 3 minutes). It continues in this fast framework, although it has a bit more open moments of just drums or just vocals. The way the band plays with feedback in the last minute or so of the song very cool.
“New Buildings” has a hardcore beat with a guitar part that sounds sped up. ”Death” is a thumping song (the drums are very loud on this disc), while “Timeline” is two minutes of squealing guitars. ”Stay Afraid” has a false start (although who knows why–how do these guys know if the feedback sounds are what they wanted anyhow?). The song ends with 30 seconds of sheer noise). The album ends with the 5 minute “Changing of the Guard” a song not unlike the rest of the album–noisy with loud drumming and more noise.
The album is certainly challenging, it’s abrasive and off putting, but there;s surprising pleasures and melodies amidst the chaos. Indeed, after a listen or two you start to really look forward to the hooks. If you like this sort of thing, this album s a joy. It’s also quite brief, so it never overstays its welcome.
[READ: April 15, 2011] McSweeney’s #13
I have been looking forward to reading this issue for quite some time. Indeed, as soon as I received it I wanted to put aside time for it. It only took eight years. For this is the fabled comics issue. Or as the cover puts it: Included with this paper: a free 264 page hardcover. Because the cover is a fold-out poster–a gorgeous broadside done by Chris Ware called “God.” And as with all Chris Ware stories, this is about life, the universe and everything. On the flip side of the (seriously, really beautiful with gold foil and everything) Ware comic are the contributors’ list and a large drawing that is credited to LHOOQ which is the name of Marcel Duchamp’s art piece in which he put a mustache on the Mona Lisa. It’s a kind of composite of the history of famous faces in art all done in a series of concentric squares. It’s quite cool.
So, yes, this issue is all about comics. There are a couple of essays, a couple of biographical sketches by Ware of artists that I assume many people don’t know and there’s a few unpublished pieces by famous mainstream artists. But the bulk of the book is comprised of underground (and some who are not so underground anymore) artists showing of their goods. It’s amazing how divergent the styles are for subject matter that is (for the most part) pretty similar: woe is me! Angst fills these pages. Whether it is the biographical angst of famous artists by Brunetti or the angst of not getting the girl (most of the others) or the angst of life (the remaining ones), there’s not a lot of joy here. Although there is a lot of humor. A couple of these comics made it into the Best American Comics 2006.
There’s no letters this issue, which makes sense as the whole thing is Chris Ware’s baby. But there are two special tiny books that fit nearly into the fold that the oversized cover makes. There’s also two introductions. One by Ira Glass (and yes I’d rather hear him say it but what can you do). And the other by Ware. Ware has advocated for underground comics forever and it’s cool that he has a forum for his ideas here. I’m not sure I’ve ever read prose from him before. (more…)
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Posted in Books about writers, Daphne Beal, Dave Eggers, David Means, Denis Johnson, Doug Dorst, Dow Mossman, Environmentalism, Essays, Excerpt, Fears, Jonathan Ames, Joyce Carol Oates, Marcel Dzama, Marriage Trouble, McSweeney's, Military, Political Humor, Russia, Samantha Hunt, Sean Warren, Short Story, Stephen Elliott, T.C. Boyle, Threats, Tom Bissell, Violence, Yuck! on December 21, 2012 |
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[WATCHED: December 16, 2012] McSweeney’s #11
THE DVD that came with Issue #11 was listed as a “Deleted Scenes” bonus feature for this issue. The colophon of the book explains in great detail what they wanted to do and how they went about doing it all. And that’s all quite amusing in itself.
Now, of course, there are no “deleted scenes” up front. The DVD is, at first glance, authors reading from the works in the book. But as you scroll down the menu, there are some deleted scenes, as well as behind the scenes features and audio commentary. All in all there’s about two hours worth of stuff crammed in here and some of it is quite interesting.
This is where the authors read from their works. They each read between 3 and 6 minutes, with some of them reading different sections (Samantha Hunt), but most of them reading a chunk. (more…)
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Posted in A.G. Pasquella, Alison Smith, All Songs Considered, Antlers, Ben Greenman, Benjamin Lytal, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Books about writers, Brent Hoff, Culture Shock, Daphne Beal, David Means, Death, Decadence, Demons, Denis Johnson, Doug Dorst, Dow Mossman, Emilio Oliveira, Environmentalism, Essays, Excerpt, Fears, Ian McDonnell, Jeffrey Rotter, Joyce Carol Oates, Marriage Trouble, McSweeney's, Military, Political Humor, Robert Olmstead, Russia, Samantha Hunt, Sean Warren, Short Story, Stephen Elliott, T.C. Boyle, Threats, Tom Bissell, Trevor Koski, Violence, Yuck! on December 19, 2012 |
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SOUNDTRACK: THE ANTLERS-Live at the Black Cat, Washington DC, May 11, 2009 (2009).
I mentioned that I was uncertain about my appreciation of this band. And I wondered how they would hold up to a longer show. The answer is surprisingly well. The sound quality of this set isn’t great–the levels seem way too loud (not sure if that’s the band or the recording) and I really can’t understand the words, but the music is very moody and evocative and I like it quite a lot.
This set comes from the album Hospice, which is a concept album about a person dying of bone cancer (with lyrics like “they told me that there was no saving you” and song titles like “Kettering”). Earlier descriptions made me think the album was a major drag to listen to– I mean the subject alone is exhausting–but musically it’s a different story. There’s lush strings and interesting guitars. And, at least live, the band can make a holy racket.
I’m a little surprised by the number of keyboard errors in “Atrophy.” I mean an occasional bum note is fine, but there’s a bunch in that track. It’s very weird. But that is made up for by the vocals which are angsty and impassioned, especially on the final song “Cold War.” The NPR site has three tracks available for viewing and I must say that watching the band is more exciting than just listening to them. But I have really gained an appreciation for The Antlers.
Check out the show here.
[READ: December 16, 2012] McSweeney’s #11
This crazy title for this Issue/Post comes because the cover and spine of the book are all text. Indeed, the book is gorgeously bound in black leather(ish) with shiny gold print. Each author gets a summary of his or her work and a note that he or she is free (see each story below).
I did not read Issue #10 yet because it came out as a thrilling paperback, and I’ve been putting it off for a reason even I can’t quite fathom. I anticipate reading that one last. Again, no idea why. In some ways, Issue #11 picks up where Issue #9 left off. There’s lots of text on the cover, there’s letters and everything else that makes it look like McSweeney’s. But as I said this one seems more somehow. It’s the hardcover. And, it’s also the DVD that accompanies the book. I have a hard time believing I’ve owned this book for almost ten years and never watched the DVD but I finally got around to it. More on that soon.
This issue contains letters, fiction, non-fiction and a play that picks up from Issue #9 (more…)
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Posted in Funny (ha ha), Memoirs, Funny (strange), Essays, McSweeney's, Marriage Trouble, Short Story, Swans, Deb Olin Unferth, War, History, Racism, Drinking, Boredom, Violence, Death, John Brandon, Drugs, Sex, Robots, J. Malcolm Garcia, All Songs Considered, Native Americans, Ryan Boudinot, Excerpt, Letters, Thomas McGuane, Jess Walter, Aimee Bender, Track, Cassandra C. Jones, Kelsey Dake, Matt Rota, Gracia Lam, Viveca Mellegard, Henry Bean, Jowhor Ile, Sibylla Brodzinsky, Max Shoening, Chris Flynn, Tony Birch, Tara June Winch, Eileen Van Neerven-Currie, Steven Milhauser, Jesus Christ Superstar on December 14, 2012 |
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SOUNDTRACK: SWANS-Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties, October 2, 2011 (2011).
Before Swans released this year’s amazing The Seer, they toured supporting their previous album (with a number of songs from The Seer included). This set has two songs from The Seer, “The Apostate” and “The Seer, Pt 1″ together they comprise 50 minutes of the nearly two hour show. The set also includes “No Words No Thoughts” (24 minutes) and “Jim” (a teeny 6 minutes) from 2010′s My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. The final track is an eleven minute version of “I Crawled” which goes all the way back to 1984′s Young God EP.
I would never have thought of Swans as a jam band, and yet here they are, with 5 songs in 2 hours. Although unlike jam bands, they aren’t showing off their musical chops or noodling solos, they are created expressive and moody soundscapes–not as scary as in days of old, but very intense nonetheless.
The set sounds great, although I imagine this would be more enjoyable to watch than to listen to (there a great swaths of music where there’ s not a lot happening). I wonder what Gira is doing during these stretches. My friend Phil (or Phillipe Puleo as Gira calls him here) plays drums on the album and on this tour, and I have to say he must be exhausted–man he hits the drums hard.
I listened to this show before I heard The Seer, but it didn’t prepare me for what the album would contain. Now having heard that album, I appreciate this live show even more–they really master these long songs. I am going to have to try to see them the next time they swing by. I admit I used to be afraid at the thought of seeing them because their early music was so intense, but this seems to be a different Swans now, one that an old man like myself could even handle.
The set is no longer available on NPR.
[READ: December 10, 2012] McSweeney’s #41
The cover of this issue has a series of overlapping photographs of lightning. I didn’t really look at it that closely at first and thought it was an interesting collage. Indeed, Sarah said it looked like a science textbook of some kind. But when I read the colophon, I learned that Cassandra C. Jones finds photographs of lightning and (without manipulating them digitally) places them together so that the lightning bolts create shapes. And indeed, that is what is going on. And it’s amazing!
The cover’s pictures create a greyhound running (front and back covers show different stages of the run). There’s also circles and a rabbit running. It’s incredibly creative and very cool. You can see some of her work at her site.
The feature of this issue is that there are four stories from Australian Aboriginal Writers, a group that I can honestly say I have never read anything from before. There’s also beautiful art work accompanying most of the longer stories, three gritty non-fiction pieces and some letters, most of which aren’t very silly at all.
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SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Live Bait Vol 6 (2011).
Yesterday was my coworker Jay’s last day here, so I’m writing about this Phish bootleg set in his honor.
So these Live Bootleg Series are fun in that they’re a free sample of live songs–warts and all–from various shows in the band’s touring history. These shows are primarily 1993-1996, with a 1988 song and two from 2003 thrown in for good measure. The opening of “The Curtain” into “Tweezer” is from Red Rocks. In fact, the first 8 songs are from Red Rocks at different times in their career (I like that they meld the shows together like this). From 1996, “The Curtain” sounds amazing, so it’s really surprising how badly Trey messes up the opening guitar riff of “Tweezer.” It’s so bad I would have thought he might have considered starting over! But after an ugly beginning the band settles in for a 17 minute version. “Split Open and Melt” also comes 1994. The band sounds great on this song. This is one of my favorite jam sections–it goes in a really weird direction. And, there’s great bass and a guitar solo. “It’s Ice” and “The Wedge” are from 1993 (touring their 4th official release!). They sound really on for these songs.
Next comes a trio of songs from 1995 that always go together: “Mike’s Song” (everybody’s favorite), “I am Hydrogen” and “Weekapaug Groove.” The middle of the “Mike’s Song” jam gets a little weird (some of their slow sections can sound very strange especially if people overhear them out of context), but they bring it back very nicely.
“The MOMA Dance’ and “Limb by Limb” are from 2003. And they are fantastic. “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” actually comes from the Colorado ’88 CD, but it’s a fun addition within this set. It certainly sounds older than the others, but not radically out of place. It’s followed by “Ghost” from 1997. “David Bowie” has a lot of fun in the intro–the begin playing several different songs, including “Mike’s Song” and several other intros before finally settling into “DB.” The jam also gets pretty dark, but I love at the end when the conventional shredding solo keeps getting interrupted by a strange minor key riff. Similarly, “Wilson” takes a really long time to get going, including a nice little nod to “The Simpsons” in the intro. And then there’s a really long pause before the “blap boom” part comes in. It’s a fun version of the song. The disc ends with a wild version of “Run Like an Antelope” from 1993.
It’s a pretty great set, and not bad for free. You can download it here.
[READ: May 25, 2012] “The Bank Robbery”
I’ve never read Richard Ford. I have a copy of Independence Day but I never read it. I hear it’s great.
So, here’s this excerpt from Ford’ new novel called Canada. As has been said before, you can’t really write a review of an excerpt. However, a excerpt can get you excited about a book.
And that’s what this did. It doesn’t make me want to pre-order Canada or anything, indeed, I’m not even sure how this excerpt can relate to the rest of the story as it’s pretty self-contained, but I loved the way it was written and the tone and pacing that Ford employs.
This excerpt opens with the narrator recollecting what he knows about the bank robbery. The one that his parents committed. His parents are pretty normal people, except for one thing—they actually thought they could pull of a bank robbery. I love this section:
Conceivably many of us think of robbing a bank the same way we lie in bed at night and delicately plot to murder our lifelong enemy…. [details excised]. After which we conclude that though it’s satisfying to think we could murder our enemy in ambush…only a deranged person would carry out such a plan. That is because the world is set against such acts…At which point we forget about our plan and go to sleep…. But for my parents this kind of thinking didn’t occur. (more…)
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SOUNDTRACK: TED LEO & PHARMACISTS-“The Numbered Head” from Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers (2009).
I really like the guitar sound that Leo creates for this song—angular and reminiscent of late 80s alt rock. It’s not that different from the original, but it really grabs you. By the time the big chorus kicks in, there are big vocals and big guitars, It’s a nice pairing with the noisy solo and more aggressive verses.
Once I realized it was a Robert Pollard cover it made complete sense—it sounds exactly like a Guided By Voices song. Pollard’s version is about thirty seconds longer and I think that makes the difference. I’ve always been kind of eh about Pollard. I think some of his songs are awesome and some are just okay—he needs a serious editor (which is a funny thing to say about someone who has so many songs that are about a minute long). I’ve also never really gotten into Ted Leo, although everything I’ve heard by him I like. And this is no exception.
I prefer the Ted Leo version, and maybe it’s time to see what else he and Pharmacists have done.
[READ: April 4, 2012] “Hand on the Shoulder”
Its funny how different writers handle pacing so differently. It’s kind of amazing in general how writing can have such different pacing. Typically, Ian McEwan’s pacing is slow. Not dull, but slow. His stories evolve, they don’t just happen.
And that’s why it takes a little while to read this story. It’s not especially long, but the pacing is very detailed (as befits who the main character becomes). It also turns out that this is an excerpt from a novel (New Yorker, you fooled me again—although I kind of assumed this was an excerpt because I don’t think of McEwan as being a short story writer). Knowing it’s an excerpt means the pacing makes even more sense. This is a story that will unfold—there’s no hurry.
Serena Frome was recruited by the British security service forty years ago in 1972. She was attending Cambridge and had just started dating a boy named Jeremy Mott. Jeremy was an amazingly selfless lover—lasting for hours but never seeming to reach orgasm himself. We twenty-first century types know what this probably means about Jeremy, but Serena (and presumably Jeremy) didn’t find out until after they had broken up and he was then dating a man. (more…)
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