Archive for the ‘Non-Music’ Category

One of the cooler conservation organizations out there, the Center for Biological Diversity, sent me a postcard with a beautiful red fox looking at me with the poem “Keeping Quiet” beside. It’s by Pablo Neruda and I hope you’ll read it and mull it over, maybe even recognize it as your natural state, one that seems to have been forced upon many people these days who are so used to unceasing hustling. Without going on about it, I had never read this poem before, and it perfectly reflects the way to combat this gospel of profit margin, of anthropocentric growth, of getting ahead that so pervades human endeavor.

Speaking of celebrating the profitless, have you voted in the Signac puzzle piece poll yet?

I’ve been spending some more time with Divine Discontent by Sixpence None The Richer, listening more closely and associations that were vague now register.

There is the Crowded House cover, track 4, and one that brings to mind Alanis Morissette (5), early late Beatles (10), Bacharach or Alpert (11), and not sure, but someone (12), all delivered with Leigh Nash’s rich vocals and Matt Slocum’s rich orchestration and deft (along with Sean Kelly) guitar playing.

As usual, the best songs are the ones penned by Slocum alone. There’s even a developing “hat trick,” as I call a wonderful succession of three songs that lead off the somber festivities: “Breathe Your Name,” “Tonight,” and “Down and Out of Time.” This last is my favorite song at this point, and one Nash also contributed to.

Slocum’s songwriting remains at the high level of their big hit album, and his vulnerability and confessional knowledge of his own weaknesses remains as well. “I’ve Been Waiting” hooks you in and takes the breath away. “Down and Out of Time” captures some of the song that began their previous album“We Have Forgotten” has this lashing out: “don’t go, I’ll shoot you down.” “Down and Out of Time” says, “I aim my cannon at you ready or not / You’re gonna feel my pain like it or not.”

There’s no nicer song to sing along with. And it’s perfect for this time when so much is grounded and, despite all the pain for so many, there is much to be found in exactly thatbeing grounded. “Perhaps this earth can teach us / as when everything seems dead / and later proves to be alive.”


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My last post celebrated Paul Signac’s glorious Blessing of the Tuna Fleet at Groix, a puzzle of which I completed not long ago, however long ago it feels.

One thing that made this experience special were the pieces, jigsawed into many shapes and betraying the minute detail that Signac lavished on his work. You can see details in my last post, and here are a few isolated shots that give a small feeling of what it was like as I worked on the puzzle (click to enlarge):

Click the image on the left and take a close look. Which piece do you find the most fascinating? The one that heightens your respect for Signac’s skill? Vote now!

Yes, this post was named after this song by Peter & Gordon. It has one of my favorite openings ever, and apparently was banned for a time after 9/11. We’re not the only decade that knows strange times.


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A friend of mine was questing for a puzzle the other day, turning up none after combing of her locale. I sent her an eBay link for the one I just completed, Paul Signac’s “Blessing of the Tuna Fleet at Groix,” brought to us by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and publisher Museum & Wildlife Collections. I very much took my time, snapping a photo from time to time.

It all started in mid-November, building the border, and yes that’s Orange Caramel of “Lipstick” fame, a poster underneath a sheet of plastic. It was hard not to buy a CD when visiting Seoul without having posters and other ephemera thrust upon one. Cute.



My parents love puzzles these days, board games having been usurped, and my late uncle did them for many years, getting hooked on them during a hospital stayhe had a special affinity for 1,000 piece ones, which I find rather amazing.

Work progressed bit by bit, and a month later:



On two card tables in the second bedroom, I worked to music and a lot of singing resulted. It was a great way to enjoy my whole music collection. And I even fit some pieces together.



In mid-March, a certain album revealed itself to me in a depth I’d never noticed as rapid progress was made.


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Until all was complete:



How satisfying! It’s hard to imagine wanting to do a different puzzle. This one is perfect, with insight into classic art in an Impressionist, semi-Pointillist style where each piece sheds light on the artist’s loving detail, plus the pieces are cut in a huge variety, so it’s exciting to track them down and piece them together. I’ll probably take some board games for a spin next, but I am tempted to just take the puzzle apart and then start all over again!

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The time has come again.

I’ve been watching lots of Women’s World Cup soccer action, and figure it is about time. Watching these women play with gusto and expertise hearkens me back to my days playing the same sport, and subsequent efforts in tennis, softball, basketball, and epic pick-up football struggles with friends–but those days for me are no more, even were I to pick sports back up. I have taken a different path, a more bookish one, and I figure I ought to make the most of it rather than look wistfully at other options. So, days of sucking orange slices with comrades in arms may be gone, but we press on.


Lefties unite! Rose Lavelle left foots it.

A lot of my previous writing was as assigned, always an easy task when given limits, or “because a fire was in my head.” Thanks to these and some other endeavors (see About for a few) I’ve scraped together something of a corpus. As years and un-begun projects stack up, though, it is a good time to start in greater earnest, perhaps with a bit of refinement-through-age helping me, although this is hardly the brevity I was hoping for when I began typing this morning.

This blog is about music, and more. Art exhibits I visit, philosophic and political ideas that rear their heads, favorite works of literature, historical oddities, movies, aesthetic miscellanies, etc. And this all started and starts with The Sugarcubes. A decade or more ago, a workplace intern told me she was a fan of Björk (Guðmundsdóttir), renowned Icelandic solo singer, and presented me with a collection of her best work. When I mentioned Björk’s early group of some distinction, The Sugarcubes, she hadn’t heard of them. Of course, this saddened me.

Now, quite possibly a generation removed from those who have any acquaintance with Björk, let alone The Sugarcubes, I figure one thing I can share for any who are to read is my experience with music, something I have delved into with natural, unthinking avidity for my whole life.

But the idea for this blog starts with The Sugarcubes, specifically their second album, Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! This album is and was unsung, considered a disappointment at the time among the critics and my friends, my alternative set of friends as opposed to the rap one; another in the catalogue (yes, we can still spell it this way) of supposedly cursed debut follow-ups.


©1989, Elektra Records

I didn’t know the release date, which turns out to be September 1989. What a wonderful date! My birthday month and the start of my college career! I was off in a place away from my altie music friends, but saw them plenty during Christmas break and summers, and we even exchanged written and posted letters often discussing these very things, music releases that is! So, with those days in mind, I will see what I can make of this blog today, tomorrow, next week.

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