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Archive for the ‘The Sound of Music’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 24, 2018] Wesley Stace

Wesley Stace once recorded  under the pseudonym John Wesley Harding and released some 20 albums.

He has somewhat recently reverted to his real name for performance and wrote about the pseudonym in the New York Times

I’m the last person who should have bothered with a fake name in the first place. I didn’t need a Bowiesque persona, nor did I have a drab real name, but I did need a disguise, assuming that my “career” would tank in about two weeks, proving an embarrassing obstacle to a more attainable-seeming future in academia.

So “John Wesley Harding” it was, founded purely on the coincidence of my Christian name and a Bob Dylan album title. Both I and the cowboy John Wesley Hardin were named for the founder of the Methodist religion (though of the two of us, I’ve probably followed his teachings slightly more closely, having killed fewer people.) For some reason, Dylan misspelled Hardin “Harding”; no one knows why and to my knowledge no one’s ever bothered to ask. (My own favorite theory is that Dylan omitted so many “g”s from titles like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” that he decided on a little restitution.)

And after a coincidentally precise 25 years, I have decided, for my new record, to ditch the tried and tested “John Wesley Harding” brand in favor of my real name. Why? I am hardly a household name, but whether you’re a Cougar, a Prince or a Harding (and unless you’re a Will Oldham who changes his name from Bonnie-Prince-this to Palace-Songs-that at the drop of a hat), it’s the sort of decision that doesn’t come lightly.

The reason is simple: I wrote a couple of autobiographical songs, and then I kept writing them. It was the first time that I’d ever bothered to write that kind of confessional song. All songs are autobiographical, but these were also true: things that happened to me. It wasn’t an aesthetic decision; it was something that just presented itself, because I was feeling low and stuck in hotel rooms on a dull book tour. I wrote to comfort myself; you could go so far to say, as a form of therapy.

This move has been facilitated by the fact that I’ve been writing novels for the last 10 years under my real name: that decision was a no-brainer. The first novel, “Misfortune”, was a Dickensian kind of thing, and having the misspelled name of an outlaw on the spine would have been silly. That extracurricular use of my real name means that Wesley Stace has continued to exist on some level over there on the bookshelf. But it gets tiring having two names. Introductions to readings are too long anyway without that added complication: time to get it all under one roof.

That’s a long introduction for a short set (about 30 minutes). (more…)

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internetSOUNDTRACK王蓉Rollin-小雞小雞(Chick Chick) [RONG “ROLLIN” WANG-“Chick Chick”]. (2014)

chickchickDon’t call it a novelty! You must watch it.

Is it a kid’s song?  I have no idea.  But it is mesmerizing.  I have now watched it about a half a dozen times and somehow it gets better each time.  Not as awesome as Babymetal (who are Japanese), but awesome in a wholly different (Chinese) way.

So far it only has 8 million views, the number must be increased!

[READ: November 15, 2014] The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Although I have been a fan of McSweeney’s from the very beginning, I have never faithfully read their online Internet Tendency.  Of course I have read the often circulated ones, and a few years ago I said I would read the old posts from the beginning (I didn’t).  Now I discover that in the years since I said that, the Internet Tendency has 283 pages of archives (with something like 30 entries per page).  Get moving on that.

Having these best pieces in a book form is nice, as is anything with “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” printed on the cover.  Since I haven’t read all 8,000 entries, I can’t say what qualifies as the best.  Although I have to wonder if some of these were picked more for their contributors than their actually bestness.  (Take a look at some of the heavy hitters represented below).  Regardless of how these were chosen, it is an excellent collection of funny stuff.

When I finish reading all of the online pieces (in about two years), I will have more authority to say if these 50 are the best, but in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy this very funny selection. (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: November 16, 2014] The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen

linoWe enjoyed Whales on Stilts so much that we were really excited to listen to this second book in the series.  However, this book, while featuring the same main trio, was actually quite different.

The gang has decided that they are going on vacation.  They’re a little bored (Katie’s mom has been doing things like cutting off her own hand just to freak out Jasper), so they take Jasper’s latest gadget and head up to the mountains for a little r n r (and a free dinner with the coupon that Jasper received).

When they get to the hotel (the Moose Tongue Lodge and Resort), they realize that they can’t afford a room, so Jasper’s gadget attaches to the side of the hotel and looks just like it is supposed to be a part of it (apparently).  Of course, when they leave their invasive bubble, they have to go out through someone else’s bathroom and he is terrified by the calamitous sound that Jasper’s gadget made while attaching to the building).  They also learn that the coupon for a free dinner was fake.

When Jasper reveals to the hotel clerk that he is indeed Jasper Dash, boy technonaut, the clerk reveals that he is but one of many literary super sleuths in residence that night.  The Manley Boys and the Hooper Quints are there, and so is Eddie Wax and the Cutesy Dell Twins.

Who?  (more…)

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