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Trotting Back into Blogistan With About Six Feathers in My Beanie

It's going to be a couple days before I get rolling again, but in the spirit of getting back on proverbial tracks, here I am.

A Brief Musical Diary of Mexico City (Prosaic Marshmallows by One P.B. Words)

1. We get drunk in an empty bar much too early; they play a Lupillo Rivera concert on a gigantic television set hung high above the floor. Tuba players in norteño bands must have enormous, beautiful lungs.

2. The streets are strewn with organ grinders cranking with a hopeful diligence; an accomplice runs around with a hat to collect change for the songs. The boxes wheeze, the pipes must be bent; all the tunes are warped. We go back to the room and listen to Ariel Pink's House Arrest, which makes more sense each time.

3. There is a fantastic synth-pop song on the television called "Don," by a group named Miranda. I can't follow all the lyrics, but I can pick up on the fact that the singer announces the guitar solo; the self-referentiality of it sadly reminds me again that D. Boon is dead. I listen to Minutemen EPs on my iPod in the dark; "I Felt Like a Gringo" seems comforting for the first time, even though I still hold them responsible for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

4. It's funny, I don't hear nearly as much music as I would've expected to. The most music I hear is on the subway. Lots of bootlegs, all for around the equivalent of a dollar. I find myself tempted, but realize after a day that you could easily come home with five or six CDs in an afternoon; most of them would end up having either "If You're Going to San Francisco" or some overwrought Mexican crooner spilling his voicebox onto a plastic bandstand.

I bought some CDs, which I'll write about in the next few days (I think every Duranguense CD had a scorpion somewhere on the cover, yikes).

Do you all read books? I read:

A Tomb for Boris Davidovich by Danilo Kis, twice. Beautiful, spare fictional biographies about people trapped under the fog of communism; the strains of the stories run through one another like frayed threads or veins running to an invisible heart, which is to say, it does a weird thing to one's being and I suggest you read it, but not unless you can take and appreciate a good helping of The Bleak.

Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms. Much more lavish than In Cold Blood, but I'm not sure I liked it as much. Some parts are bliss, some of it gets really belabored and directionless; I have a feeling that some of my negative reactions have to do with the fact that the dreamier prose feels almost archetypal now, like something they teach you in grade school, i.e. hard to take with a fresh mind.

Most of Music is the Weapon of the Future, a book of the history of African music. This is a book of the history of African music. There aren't many. Typos, clumsy prose and all, it's a wonderful thing if not ideal.

I also climbed pyramids and ate a ridiculous amount of sandwiches. Back in the saddle.

Happy new year. (And oh yeah oops don't forget to kill yr fckn idols or chop off your pinkie and whatnot.)


Blogger Brad said...

Michael's back!

I have The Doldrums and while I love the concept and the gauzy texture, I think the songwriting's a bit daft. Nothing I've heard has matched the shock of "Immune to Emotion," which reminded me of shopping under the PA system in TJ Maxx with my mom.

As for Gavin Bryars, you have to be careful with my blog. Sometimes my posts are credited to the "fossor" gimmick. Keeps me honest. Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus' Love Never Failed Me Yet are supreme head music in the right sense of sentimental.

Glad to see you had a hell of a time, and that sandwiches got as much due as alcohol.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

The phrase "fictional biographies" sets me all a-tingle (still plowing through Borges' Collected Fictions, naturally), and I'm an old friend of The Bleak. I may have to check this Kis fellow(?) out.

Mexico sounds (at least from this) like a lot of fun - I haven't had sandwiches at all while I've been on vacation, and it's one of the few things I'm looking forward to about starting the new job next Friday. Did you find the feathered serpent?

And shit, Brad has a blog? How do I miss this stuff? You are linked, sir.

(is there any possible way you can hook me up with those Bryars albums, Shoup? I've been dying to hear them ever since I heard AFX's Titanic remix and McKeating's piece on Jesus' Blood)

3:44 AM  
Blogger Justin said...


11:27 AM  

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