Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I'm not calling it "a tale of two Peters," for obvious reasons.
Yes, on balance, I approve of Peter Capaldi's look as the Doctor. It's simple, makes a statement. Most Doctor Who costumes have been somewhat rumpled, Tom Baker's certainly being no exception. And that's fine, rumpled is a way of life for me. But sometimes going in a different direction for contrast is good, and this does that.
There's a good chance that there will be a female Doctor in the next few years. It's actually established on the show now that Time Lords can change sex in regeneration. More importantly, the show's worldwide popularity means that it can risk alienating some of the dead-enders. So what would or should a lady Doctor look like? To start with, the character is consistently brilliant and eccentric. And here's the thing. It's not really eccentric, not in society as it stands now, for a woman to dress in mildly outlandish clothes. What is eccentric for a woman - and I repeat, I'm talking about social convention, not biological instinct - to not spend much time on her appearance. So if a woman were cast as the Doctor, a low maintenance look would probably be best
As for the other Pete, well, play us out, Mr. Seeger.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Chalk it up to research for a later thing. As far as what I would have written here goes, you're not actually missing much.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
1. The Fiery -Furnaces: Staring at the Steeple
2. Amy Winehouse - I Heard Love Is Blind
3. Pink Martini - Până când nu te iubeam
4. Metric - Breathing Underwater
5. Scissor Sisters - Return to Oz
6. Lambert - Hendricks and Ross: Gimme That Wine
7. Beck - Go It Alone
8. They Migh - Be Giants: Canajoharie
9. Mose Allison - One of These Days
10. R.E.M. - Talk About the Passion
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Or is it?
Looks like another Saturday Random Ten this week. iTunes is giving me attitude after the apparently failed downoad/install. I'll have to jiggle the handle or whatever tomorrow.
Monday, January 20, 2014
I wound up seeing Inside Llewyn Davis. It continues a trend I hadn't really thought of until today, as far as the Coen Brothers go. While you might expect filmmakers entering a mature phase to do more crowdpleasing movies, as the tendency is, they've sort of been going in the other direction. The films they've made in teh 21st century have by and large been bleak, with sympathetic characters falling into awful fates.
Some might quibble about how sympathetic Llewyn Davis is. The character is, by the way, modeled on Dave Van Ronk, probably a little looser than Barton Fink was on Clifford Odets. He's snotty for the most part, inappropriate at times. But I found it hard not to feel for him. His dilemma is an acute one, in that he can't make a living doing what he loves. He can't see a way out of it, either.
The movie does have excellent music, of course, much of it sung and played by the cast. It also features the return of John Goodman to the Coen fold. His character - a burnt out junkie jazz musician - is undeniably an asshole, and just as undeniably has style.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
While I was writing - largely editing - in Starbucks I met a friend. He still recognized me.
1. Scissor Sisters - Lovers in the Backseat
2. Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross - Mr. P.C.
3. Beck - Girl
4. Radiohead - Packt Like Sardines In a Crushd Tin Box
5. Morphine - Buena
6. Joni Mitchell - Hejira
7. Mose Allison - Swinging Machine
8. Any Winehouse - Amy, Amy, Amy
9. Ladytron - Sugar
10. Fiery Furnaces - Cut the Cake
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
It's interesting, or it least it can be interesting, to compare how two different artists approach the same song. Bromberg's never been a rock star, but he does do a kind of rock 'n' roll take on the Bessie Smith standard. Washington is more laid back, tailoring the song for Eisenhower era sophisticates. Of course no matter how you slice it, the song is still a jilted lover's gleeful confession of murder and begging to be executed. They both honor that fact, as it were.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Gone the three ancient ladies
Who creaked on the greenhouse ladders
Reaching up white strings
To wind, to wind
The sweet-pea tendrils, the smilax,
Nasturtiums, the climbing
Roses, to straighten
Chrysanthemums; the stiff
Stems, jointed like corn,
They tied and tucked—
These nurses of nobody else.
Quicker than birds, they dipped
Up and sifted the dirt;
They sprinkled and shook;
They stood astride pipes;
Their skirts billowing out wide into tents,
Their hands twinkling with wet;
Like witches they flew along rows
Keeping creation at ease;
With a tendril for needle
They sewed up the air with a stem;
They teased out the seed that the cold kept asleep,—
All the coils, loops, and whorls
They trellised the sun, they plotted for more than themselves.
I remember how they picked me up, a spindly kid,
Pinching and poking my thin ribs
Till I lay in their laps, laughing,
Weak as a whiffet;
Now, when I'm alone and cold in my bed,
They still hover over me,
These ancient leathery crones,
With their bandannas stiffened with sweat,
And their thorn-bitten wrists,
And their snuff-laden breath blowing lightly over me in my first sleep.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Tonight I went calendar shopping. You can get a little bit of a deal, of course, if you wait until after New Year. You might get an even better deal if you wait until March but it would seem to be slim pickings at that point.
Anyway I got a steampunk wall calendar. Do I read much steampunk? Well, I'm selective about it. A lot of it falls into the same trap as a lot of science fiction and fantasy works, especially those published as part of a series, which is that the story's world can't exist without convoluted explanations. But I like the look of it, and this is a nice looking calendar.
1. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Be Easy
2. They Might Be Giants - You Don't Like Me
3. Nellie McKay - Pink Chandelier
4. Rasputina - Crosswalk
5. The Bird and the Bee - Meteor
6. Dinah Washington & Brook Benton - Baby, You've Got What It Takes
7. Joni Mitchell - Refuge of the Road
8. Gogol Bordello - Avenue B
9. Imperial Teen - No Matter What You Say
10. Taj Mahal - Take a Giant Step
Thursday, January 9, 2014
So we'll see about that poem later on. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Well that's sort of what it's about. This is a weird, hallucinatory book. In subject matter it's as dark as the previous novels I've read by him, and probably moreso than Diary. But it's more brightly colored, bitchier. That last word sounds a little stereotype-y, I know, but I can't really see a straight author writing this book.
So it's all Palahniuk, while different from his previous stuff. And everyone else's. I'm having a pretty good time with it.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Friday, January 3, 2014
1. Jimmy Smith - Mood Indigo
2. Jimi Hendrix Experience - I Don't Live Today
3. Lou Rawls - Lady Love
4. They Might Be Giants - You Probably Get That a Lot
5. Beck - Que Onda Guero
6. Pink Martini - Omide Zendegani
7. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - We Are Normal
8. New Pornographers - We End Up Together
9. Imperial Teen - Hanging About
10. The Fiery Furnaces - Lost at Sea
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Recenttly I read Rosemary Harris' The Moon in the Cloud, which is something of a twice-told tale based on the story of Noah from Genesis. I liked the talking animals. Yes, it's the kind of book with talking animals. And Harris makes a clever turn at the end.
Had to wonder, though. The bad guy in the book is Noah's son Ham. He comes off way too vile to be a Disney villain. And Ham is the son whose offspring were supposed to have settled Africa and the adjacent parts of Asia. Is there some agenda here? Maybe an attempt to justify ultra-hawkish policies in the Middle East? It sounds far-fetched, but Ancient Egypt is presented as barbaric and cruel, mostly. Which it was, mostly, but so was the ancient world as a whole. Also the Kingdom of Egypt is presented as existing in the form we think of it before the Flood, which is explained away realistically because the Flood was more local than the legend says.
So I'm not sure if my tentative political reading is fair. Part of the reason it is tentative is that I'm leery of politicizing art prematurely, which can block out other readings. I do wonder, though, if Ham has been getting a bad rap all these years.