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It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear

June 11, 2012

I’ve been wanting to get back to my 30 more songs meme, but I’ve been stymied by the next question. But right now I’m distracted by a) Neil Young’s new album of traditional songs (done atraditionally) and b) The Beatles Anthology, which Mr. Spy checked out of the library. I am planning a post about Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions and Young’s Americana, but right now I can’t stop starring at George Harrison’s sunglasses.

I’m also reading some interesting musical stuff. A collection of Ellen Willis’ rock criticism, Out of the Vinyl Deeps; the latest Best of Music Writing 2011 (edited by New Yorker critic, Alex Ross), and Dorian Lynskey’s 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs from Billie Holliday to Green Day. Next up, Jonathan Lethem’s book for the 33 and 1/3 series on the Talking Heads’ album Fear of Music and a book that caught my attention during today’s real-estate-agent-avoiding sojourn at the local bookstore, Evening in the Palace of Reason, a sort of history of Enlightenment-era Europe told be deconstructing a meeting between Johann Sebastian Bach and Frederick the Great. This is how projects tend to congeal for me — a critical mass of books that interest me and some common thread appears that leads me in. Right now, though, the only real commonality is that all of these books talk about music as representative of cultural environment in one way or another. And this is nothing new for me. It’s just what I do. Nice to know I still find it fun after all these years. I assume whatever’s fueling this particular literary binge will become clear eventually. Sometimes you just need to give it time and space.

What about you? What’s in your headphones? What’s on your nightstand? What’s going in your head?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2012 5:27 am

    Headphones: Chromeo
    Nightstand: The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (from Jeanne)
    Head: Nothing so fun as you, alas. Sorting through what family means and what’s mine to take on and what’s not mine.

    Oh and we’ve been rewatching all of Stargate: SG1. We’re in season five now. It’s a nice bit of diversion.

  2. freshhell permalink
    June 12, 2012 8:09 am

    No headphones.
    Slowly reading Wolf Hall (glacially)
    Head is filled with badness. I’ll spare you.

  3. June 12, 2012 1:56 pm

    The internal soundtrack is currently playing “Have a Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd, after reading that a friend is seeing it today in St. Louis.
    Re-reading A Farewell to Arms, finishing The Rivers of London, and making slow progress through Matter.
    What’s going on in my head is scheduling. Chess. Vacation. Work. Pet sitting. Doctor and Dentist appointments. Meetings. I put a trip to the lake on this week’s schedule, too.

  4. June 12, 2012 2:26 pm

    Headphones: I keep getting pulled back into Lisa Marie Presley’s new album, produced by T-Bone Burnett. Some of the atmospherics are a little too much like the album he produced for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (in a way that feels stale or predictable), but her voice really grabs me, and the lyrics are bracing and refreshing to me. Color me surprised. Also love a couple of songs on The Walkmen’s new album. Also Lake Street Dive has a new EP of covers that I love. Still haven’t tired of Kathleen Edwards’ latest album, or Pieta Brown’s, or Feist’s.

    Nightstand: Illustrated Rumi, a birthday present from my bride. And an old classic, “Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer,” by Brother David Steindl-Rast. And an old sudoku puzzle book, because by the end of the day I usually prefer numbers to words. I want to have a richer reading life, but I’m usually too tired to figure out how to do it.

    In my head: I’m unknitting a blog post that is probably two or three posts, instead of one. But I might have to finish writing it outside my head before I can figure out how to unknit it. Related to that, just the usual constant hum of playing with ways to connect seemingly disconnected ponderings–pawing through the rockpile of my brain, looking for something that on the surface is not particularly noteworthy, but if I pick it up and REALLY look at it, maybe it could completely re-orient my way of being in the world. Practicing gratitude.

  5. June 12, 2012 4:27 pm

    A history of the family feud among the (Emily) Dickinsons and how it affected her eventual publication. It’s interesting, but also interesting as it talks, sort of sideways-ly, about emigration patterns on New Englanders. Seems like people have always come and gone a lot.

  6. June 14, 2012 1:17 pm

    Headphones: always on shuffle
    Books: in the middle of a few, but the main read is “Prep” right now
    Head: busy!!!

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