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.
Amanda Palmer is a fascinating person and performer. I’ve enjoyed her live shows and her TED talk. And I love that she created one of the first hugely successful Kickstarter projects.
For this Tiny Desk Concert, she performs music from that Kickstarter-made album. And she has the backing of the Grand Theft Orchestra which consists of a bass guitar, a banjo and percussion. The percussion includes Palmer banging on all kinds of things around the office and the drummer playing frying pan, bucket, pipe, coffee filter and spoon.).
They play three songs. I love the circular nature of “The Killing Type” which has several parts that circle back on themselves (with some great backing vocals and chants).
“Want It Back” starts with just the banjo. The drummer conducts the audience to clap when necessary, to silence when needed and to JUMP! Toward the end of the song they all shout “bass solo” for what isn’t exactly bass solo but it allows Amanda to take off her boot and use it as percussion.
For the final song the band departs–clattering as they go. She asks if she can say “Fuck,” and Bob says, “You just did.” Amanda sings “Ukulele Anthem” solo with, yes her ukulele. It’s a remarkably long and breathless song about being yourself, about creating, about the ukulele and just about everything else. It’s rather fun and quite inspirational (and it’s nearly 6 minutes long!).
[READ: December 17, 2016] “I Hate You”
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 I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.
I haven’t actually read much by Daniel Handler when he is not writing as Lemony Snicket. So I don’t know what his more grown-up stories are usually like.
This one was rather dark. I found it amusing in one way but rather disturbing in another.
This is the story of Brad. He has moved to a new location (Oakland, I gather), and is currently an apprentice to a sculptor. The sculptor is not very good and Brad assumes he will lose funding soon. The work that Brad is doing for him is dusty and unsatisfying.
In a nutshell, he hates the guy.
Brad is subletting an apartment from Scott. He has taken to opening Scott’s mail–personal letters and cards only and then writing back. When I first mentioned this idea to Sarah, she thought it sounded fun an interesting, until I told her that what he writes to the people (who are wishing Scott a happy birthday) is: I hate you, and then a paragraph or two about why he hates that person. Then he signs it from Scott.
This is evidently Brad’s way of dealing with his unhappiness in his situation.
That night he goes to a bar with some friends. And this was the part I liked best. The waitress is nice to him. Her name is April. Later he sees that she is on a calendar in the bar. It says April even though it is currently September. It then says Cancer, and he is puzzled because she looks so healthy.
The end of the story seems to bring the two threads together, but I felt rather unsatisfied by the ending, It ties back to another moment in the story that I thought was vague and nebulous enough that hearkening back to it left the whole ending nebulous.
Which was a shame because the two main parts were so concrete, and otherwise the parallels were really interesting.