I recently rediscovered the band Angst. They were part of the second wave of SST bands (the ones who never went anywhere and were summarily dropped with no forwarding address). I know of Angst from their song on The Blasting Concept Volume II (which I love). I decided to investigate Angst a little further and my good friends at YouTube came through with a number of Angst tracks that I’d never heard.
Like this one.
Angst is a kind of jangly pop band. This song in particular would not be out of place on the radio in 1992 or indeed now. It has an early R.E.M. feel, but I think what makes it stand out somewhat is that the chorus feels kind of short–you kind of expect Peter Buck to sing a second part of the chorus, but that never materializes.
Angst is a band that could have been huge (SST was not much for marketing). And as far as I can tell all of their discs are utterly out of print. Pity. This is some good stuff.
Tap your feet along!
[READ: March 22, 2011] The Meowmorphosis
I received this book as an Advance Reader’s Copy. I absolutely loved Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I didn’t read Quirk Classics’ other mash-ups: Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters or Android Karenina (although I love the title of that one). Nor did I read any of the other mash-ups that Quirk Press did not print. It became rather passe after one great idea.
But this one seemed different somehow…. In part, Kafka. But also, it’s not a classic novel plus horror. It’s more horror plus…cats. And the opening line is wonderful:
One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.
Anyone who has read The Metamorphosis knows that it’s about 85 pages long. So, how did Coleridge Cook (which is a pseudonym, FYI) get 200 pages out of it? Well, it’s not simply The Metamorphosis. It incorporates aspects of The Trial and the short story “Little Woman” (and quite possible some other things as well).
And in that respect, it’s pretty neat. He takes these three separate Kafka stories and interweaves them, all keeping with the same basic structure of The Metamorphosis with Gregor as a cat.
And so, as in the original, Gregor is abused by his family. But unlike the original, he eventually escapes outside where he meets Josef K. and is put on trial. He is eventually let go and returns home where he imagines the tearful return he will have with his sister.
But here’s the problem. Unlike P&P&Z which made a whole new plot and added so much excitement to the original story, all that this mash-up does is to change him from a cockroach into a kitten. So really, the story is exactly the same but instead of scenes with creepy, gross cockroach detail, we get scenes with cute and cuddly kitten details. And as such, it’s hard to understand exactly why the family is so creeped out by him.
Don’t get me wrong, if my son turned into a kitten I’d be totally freaked out. But the original makes it clear that he is a disgusting vermin. Whereas this one has him as a kitten–which is harder to be grossed out by. True, he is a HUGE kitten, but even that would be more of a curiosity than disgusting.
By the end, I found the cat part to be more distraction than anything else because I was enjoying the way he had intertwined the Kafka bits into one narrative. It felt like he had to keep reminding us that there was a kitten in th story.
Incidentally, the back cover makes it seem like its going to be kind of funny (“Yes, their son is OMG so cute”), but there’s nothing like that in the text.
I assume Coleridge Cook translated the work as well…it doesn’t match exactly to any other text that I encountered, so that’s pretty cool.
Cook also includes a biography of Kafka at the end. It’s a very funny bio. The style of it is very clever with contemporary references (to Joss Whedon) and an amusing attitude. The confusion is that he talks an awful lot about cats (it states that Kafka is the author of The Meowmorphosis), so I’m not entirely clear what is true and what is totally made up or what might be real but turned into cats for the bio. (Do we replace “cats” with “cockroaches” or something). Nevertheless, I know some things are true and I enjoyed reading the amusing bits. Especially the last line.
So all in all this was a little disappointing, although reading Kafka is never disappointing, so that’s all right then.