Philistine alert: I never loved Pavement.
Yeah, let that sink in. It’s shocking, I know. I have liked a great many of their songs, and I could definitely see myself enjoying the entirety of their new greatest hits record. But even though I have their first three discs, and I adore them in theory, in practice I just don’t love all of their output.
When they broke up in 2000 or so I wasn’t really that bummed. I felt they’d done a number of great (and by now) classic alt rock songs, but I didn’t really feel like music had ended or anything.
Having said that, the fact that they’ve reunited makes me happy. It’s nice to see yet another “classic” alt rock band banging out some tunes together. And, in this case, it means that I get to hear them play a great classic track live on The Colbert Report.
This song is a kind of The Platonic Form of Pavement songs. It features everything: noisy guitars, vocals that go from mid-range to high pitched with almost no warning, inscrutable lyrics and, in spite of itself, a catchy liquid center. I’ve never seen them live (and I missed a chance in Central Park recently, sorry Al) but this clip sure makes me think they’d be a great show to see.
And who knows, maybe I’ll have to actually get Terror Twilight.
Colbert’s interview with Stephen Malkmus is hilarious, too.
[READ: September 20, 2010] “Bodies”
As with a previous time that I scoured a New Yorker back issue, I found a short story that came directly after the article I wanted. The name Jessica Shattuck sounded familiar (and her debut novel The Hazards of Good Breeding also rang a bell), but apparently I’d never read her before.
This story opens with a woman named Anna who we learn has recently been diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkins lymphoma. She is currently living in her bosses’ house with her boss’ husband and five-year old son. The arrangement is not ideal, but Anna had nowhere else to turn. And, since she is not working, while she is recovering she is acting as the boy’s nanny (the boss is away a lot and the husband spends much of his time working out).
She is beginning to feel better, stronger, and is even feeling confident enough to leave the house for a little while. And so, to me, the last thing I expected was for this story to grow sexual. And yet it does.And that’s fine. Anyone is allowed to express her sexuality, and it’s nice that she is feeling things stir. Of course, the fact that she turns her attention to her boss’ husband is more than unfortunate. True, he has been working out and is totally hot, but still, boundaries are important.
But there is an even further twist on the story, and sadly, I have to reveal the twist to say why I though it really didn’t work. So, spoiler alert for the rest of the piece.
There is one other character who comes into the story: the boss’ niece, who lives down the hall. While Anna is thinking dirty thoughts about her boss’ husband, the husband is having an affair with the niece. Okay, so first off, your wife’s niece? But second off, the niece stopped by to invite them to her sweet sixteen birthday party. So he’s having an affair with his wife’s niece who is fifteen?
I suppose this happens from time to time, people are creepy everywhere. But there is nothing in the story that indicates that the husband is a creepy pervert. When the story says “of course he was having an affair with her,” I was shocked. I thought perhaps I had missed a page and missed an important character, or that it was the nieces’ mom or something.
I feel like the story was doing something very interesting with Anna’s sexuality and I was curious as to how it would deal with this burgeoning inappropriateness. But it seems like the story simply didn’t want to deal with that in a decent way.
The final bit of the story, in which there is some confrontation was handled very well, and the story won back my respect, but that whole twist I felt was really uncalled for, and I have a really hard time believing it. And as a result it makes me not like the story.