This Tiny Desk sees her playing songs from that album. Her band is just a bassist, a drummer and her on guitar and voice.
“Emotions & Math” starts off quietly with just bass and drums while she sings in that unique way of hers. Then the guitar comes in–it’s nothing fancy, but it plays off the bass notes in a very cool way. And it’s super catchy too.
“Love Like This” opens with a cool bass and drums rhythm–bouncy and tribal. And when her guitar comes in, it’s with a ripping couple of chords before disappearing again. Once again, the bass is rumbling along with her chords accenting in a neat way.
“You and I” bounces along with some low chords and bass and Glaspy’s most growly vocals. This song features the first “solo” which is really just the notes of the chords played, but it really stands out among the deep notes. And once again, the whole business is really catchy.
“Somebody to Anybody” is just her singing and playing guitar. Although it feels a little quiet without the rhythm section, she fills in more guitar parts on this song and it feels quite full. And the chorus is, that word again, very catchy.
It was this Tiny Desk that sold me on getting her album, and I’m glad I did.
[READ: March 17, 2016] “The Running Novelist”
This essay appeared in the Summer Fiction issue of the New Yorker. Since I really like Murakami, and hope to read more of him one of the days, I’m going to include this essay because it is as surprising as some of his fiction.
This is the story of how he became a runner and how he became a novelist.
He had been the owner of a small jazz club (which I feel he has written about in one of his stories). It stayed open late and was a novelty in Tokyo at the time. He had a niche audience and while many people didn’t like the place, he had a steady clientele.
His friends said it would never work, but he didn’t listen and he became quietly successful. He was there in the morning and worked late at night. And once he made a profit he hired people to help him out.
Then he says on April 1, 1978, while he was watching a baseball game in Jingu Stadium, he had the flash of idea: he should write a novel. “Something flew down from the sky at that instant and, whatever it was, I accepted it.” He didn’t want to become a novelist, he just wanted to write a novel.
He invested in decent paper and a five dollar pen and by the fall he had written a 200 page book. He submitted it to a new writer contest and forgot all about it. The following spring, they called and said the novel had won the prize. It was published that summer as Hear the Wind Sing. He then wrote a shorter second novel called Pinball, 1973. Neither won the prestigious Akutagwa Prize, which is fine, since he didn’t have time to do interviews or anything like that.
He continued to run his jazz club for another couple of years before the desire to write a more substantial novel hit him. So he decided something drastic–he would sell the club and become a full-time writer. His friends said he was crazy, but as we know, he doesn’t listen to them. He couldn’t let someone run it for him–he was either in or out. And by the following summer he had written A Wild Sheep Chase.
A new problem arose for him, though. How will he keep fit? Running the bar was physically exhausting, but now all he did was sit and smoke. So he decided to take up running–it’s cheap and easy. He quit smoking and began running every day. He was never very athletic and he says it took a while before he became really comfortable with his stride.
He also decided to change his life style–he would go to bed early and wake up early–follow the sun. This caused him all kinds of problems with his social life. But as he said, you can’t please everybody–just like he knew with the club. “If one out of ten was a repeat customer, then the business would survive.”
He developed a fan base. He wrote Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (the only one of his that I’ve read), and then his next book Norwegian Wood sold 2 million copies.
Since then he has written 8 more novels.
But back to running. He started running 30 minutes a day, every day without fail And it became a habit. He says he isn’t fast but he is strong (he has completed 26 marathons as of 2008).
He has an interesting insight to this: “Those of us who have a tendency to gain weight should consider ourselves lucky that the red light is so clearly visible. Of course, it’s not always easy to see things this way….. If I don’t want to gain weight, I have to work out hard every day…people who naturally keep the weight off don’t need to exercise or watch their diet which is why in many cases their physical strength deteriorates with age.”
At the same time, he never recommends running to people. If someone has an interest in long distance running he’ll start running on his own. Murakami started running at 33–and it was a new life for him.
This essay was translated by Philip Gabriel.