June 22, 2004

the steam of languor

More house-hunting today--unfortunately, I'd stayed up until 7 AM or so to make a deadline (I have to stop doing that), and was almost fully catatonic. One incident that pretty much summarizes the house-hunting process, though: we went to a decently-priced Victorian in a very, very nice neighborhood that was described as "a fixer-upper." Well, okay. You had to climb a flight of stairs to get to the entrance, but fine; once you got there it had a beautiful huge picture window looking out onto a leafy-green street. The doorbell had been more or less ripped out of the door frame, and the (two-car) garage door was missing a few panels, but nothing that a little elbow grease couldn't deal with. Fabulous living room with hardwood floors, kitchen with an awful electric stove, but the house had gas heat, so it wouldn't have been an issue to just rip out the whole kitchen and put in something with a good gas range. Nice back yard with a concrete patio, some flowerbeds, room for the wild English garden Lisa wants to establish. Pleasant arrangement, hardwoods all over the ground floor, nice-sized rooms, one staircase that led up to nothing, but whatev. Basement had a couple of good rooms too.

And then we went upstairs, followed by our agent. "Check out the comedy upstairs!" I said. There were a handful of rooms that would've maybe made nice offices/kids' bedrooms (aside from the fact that they were broiling in the heat, but one can always put in some kind of A/C), and a sink clogged with ancient standing water and some kind of large dead insect, but one can always fix the plumbing... and ceilings that were 5'9" at their highest, and (in the side rooms) generally shorter. I'm 5'8", and Lisa's 5'5" (a little more with her hair), and I could get around in a sort of Lateral Alice Moore way, but it would be nice if my six-foot-plus father could visit someday without stooping. Or if I could be anywhere upstairs without paralyzing claustrophobia. "Do you have any clients who are Munchkins?" we asked our agent. "This could be perfect for them."

The music for today is the Nightblooms' "Crystal Eyes" (removed). They were a Dutch band in the late '80s and early '90s (I think they only toured the U.S. once--I remember a spectacular show at Brownies in NYC). This was their second single; I've never heard their first, and have always wanted to. (Here's a history of the band.) The Nightblooms went on to make a really lovely self-titled album that's much more reserved than this ("reserved" in the sense of "we have the power, and we might or might not bulldoze you with it, so you'd better keep a very close eye on us"), another very good album called "24 Days at Catastrofe Café" on which they went all crunchy and glam, and a final single I've only heard once, I think. Singer Esther Sprikkelman and guitarist Harry Otten now have a band called Safe Home.

When this single came out, Everett True memorably compared it to a "kitten trapped in a bucket full of razor blades." That might be even truer of its B-side, "Never Dream at All," but I love the effect here of Sprikkelman's voice singing something very quiet and sweet, drifting in from far away, while the rest of the band rains down flaming debris--Otten's wah-freakout solo is phenomenal, especially that ferocious slide up at the end. Thanks to Steve Gregory for permission to post this.

(Might not be music tomorrow, depending on how crunched I am. If there's not, well, just play "Crystal Eyes" again. Very, very loudly.)

Posted by Douglas at June 22, 2004 12:19 AM | TrackBack
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