Gregory Porter is a soul singer. For this Tiny Desk Concert, it’s just his voice and a piano played by Chip Crawford. It’s odd that in the middle of July he’s wearing a suit and what looks like a balaclava, but whatever.
The first song, “No Love Dying” is a slow piece and Porter doesn’t really get to show off his power too much. But his voice sounds great. When it’s over he says he likes to think of that song in times of trouble, and we are welcome to take it into our houses in time of trouble as well.
“Take Me To The Alley” is about the backstreets and forgotten places and how we treat the people who are in those alleys. This is also a slow, pretty song.
The final song is a warning, and we’ll know what’ its about when we hear the lyric: “Don’t Be a Fool” that’s all you need to know. It, too, is a mellow piece, full of love and offering advice to not be a fool.
I didn’t know Porter before this, and I was pleasantly surprised by his songs.
[READ: November 18, 2016] The Tiny Wife
Back in 2014, I ordered all 16 books from Madras Press. Unfortunately, after publishing the 16 books they seem to have gone out of business (actually they are switching to non-fiction, it seems). They still have a web presence where you can buy remaining copies of books. But what a great business idea this is/was
Madras Press publishes limited-edition short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of non-profit organizations chosen by our authors. The format of our books provides readers with the opportunity to experience stories on their own, with no advertisements or miscellaneous stuff surrounding them.
The format is a 5″ x 5″ square books that easily fit into a pocket.
Proceeds from Kaufman’s book go to Sketch— Working Arts for Street Involved and Homeless Youth.
This has been my favorite story from Madras Press so far. It was suitably weird but it followed its own internal logic and was really funny/intense at the same time.
The premise is simple but also strange. A man goes into a bank (but the narrator tells us it could have been anywhere) to rob people. But rather than money, he asks for each person’s most sentimental item on their person.
There are about 12 people in the bank and each one hands over something that is very personal to them (a nice variety of things). The robber tells them he now has 51% of their souls with him. He says that this will have strange consequences on their lives but they must learn to grow their souls back or they will die.
The narrator of the story is the husband of one of the victims in the bank. He is telling the story second hand.
He tells us about what happened to most of the people. The man who was sixth online has a manifestation of an ex-girlfriend literally ripping his heart out of his chest. We follow his brief quest to try to get it back. The man who was fifth had a breakup with his wife. The woman who was next online turned into candy with dire consequences (there are some surreal moments in the story).
But we are mostly concerned with the narrator’s wife, Stacey. A few days after the incident, when she thinks nothing happened to her, she realizes that she is shrinking. It is a few centimeters a day, but she is clearly shrinking. She is a mathematician and she takes some readings and then determines just how long she has before she disappears entirely.
A support group for the victims is formed. They gather to commiserate, but mostly they just talk about the things that have happened. Like to Dawn, who is constantly being followed by a lion. She had a lion tattooed on her ankle and it seems to have come to life.
Stacey and the narrator have a young son. Their son still loves her and is affectionate to her, but things are certainly strained in their house. They also have a marriage counselor–even before this things were not be going well for them. And the shrinking isn’t helping things.
Soon, she becomes so small that she can’t go out in public. And soon, she is able to fit into the palm of someone’s hand.
She assumes that soon she will be gone. Some of the victims have already died. None of them are going to the support group anymore. Soon Dawn, who is very tired from running, will be eaten by a lion. What can they do? The ending is really good, too.
I loved how creative and clever this story was and how even though it had really surreal elements, the whole story was told in a very believable fashion. Great stuff.