I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars. But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.
I find it unsettling that Calvi doesn’t take off her overcoat. The drummer leaves his hat on, but that’s another thing altogether. It seems odd that a woman who rocks would remain in her coat seeming very unrelaxed.
She plays three songs in under ten minutes and it’s a shame that the audio is mixed so poorly on this one, because the drums are louder than just about anything else and you really can’t hear her voice all that well.
“River To The Sea” is a cool instrumental that really shows off her guitar skills. She’s all over the fretboard with different tempos and sounds. It’s slow and moody (with a neat echo effect) until the end when there’s some really cool fast soloing. I love the section where she’s playing some crazy looking chords on the high notes and that she emphasizes the individual strings and the chords at the same time—it’s great to watch (and to hear).
For the next two songs, it becomes apparent that she has on jeans and that she doesn’t seem quite a stiff and bundles as he coat suggests. Phew. “Surrender” has a very moody surf guitar feel. This comes from the way she plays and the harmonium chugging along behind her. Her singing style is very moody as well—I could see this song appearing in Blue Velvet. Calvi has a captivating voice, but it is mixed way too quiet (it’s also embarrassing that there appears to be about 10 people watching her).
“Jezebel” is a rocking song, staying in that same vibe of 1950s surf guitar. I like the way she plays the three brash chords at the end of each section. She really belts out the last few words—I wish she was mic’d better throughout the show.
[READ: December 6, 2016] “Under the Taps”
Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar. Which is what exactly? Well…
The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas. This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.
I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived (a few days late for advent, but that was my fault for ordering so late) I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.
This story started out in a very confusing way. Set in Ireland, it opens with the narrator saying “This is what I intend to say tomorrow in court. Be assured.”
It jumps to third person to give some context: she was the middle child, she had to learn to wait.
Then it jumps to the present. She has brought her statement (what we are reading) to her solicitor. He didn’t look at it when he filed it away. He believes that she should compromise–it’s the only way to get her off. But she will not compromise.
It’s a confusing introduction that settles down when we get to the Taps. She begins talking about the bathtub–as a child, she had to occupy the middle spot in the bathtub. And there’s more about her childhood. Her grandfather and father were both plumbers. She spent a lot of her childhood staring at taps. She would even place her head upside down to see up into the taps. And not to mention, all during her childhood bathwater was rationed. When they did something bad, as punishment, a guilty child would have to use the previous persons’ tepid water. It was up to her mother to determine their hot water fate.
Her mother is in the court. At parties her mother often says to anyone who will listen that the narrator was an awful child–she once broke her brother’s arm with a hammer. It was unintentional–she was trying to hit something else–but still.
Her ex-husband is not in court. Part of the reason he left her is because she spent so much time in the bathroom. She feels that he could have done to spend more time in there (her olfactory skills are quite sophisticated).
And then we find out the crime that she is accused of: she snuck into three strangers’ bathrooms. The details around these are pretty funny (and suitably strange). Although I do wish there was a bit more detail (like who she chose each house).
There isn’t really a satisfying conclusion exactly–we never get to trial. Rather, based on her evidence, we are charged with trying to determine her guilt.
It’s certainly an unusual story.