September 7, 2005

my forebrain is in Killdozer

I'm back from the World Within the Trash Fence, still a little dust-caked and bleary-eyed, but basically okay. Details on that in the next entry.

Work stuff first: I've got a bunch of new pieces out. The one I'm most proud of is "Aardvark Politick," a longish essay on Cerebus in the new issue of The Believer, which I was working on intermittently for most of last year. It's not online, sadly, but the description they came up with for it is "Discussed: Freud and Jung, Jules Feiffer and Robert Crumb, Iron-Fisted Agrarian Revolution, Anarcho-Libertarian Feminists, Foghorn Leghorn, City-States, Sebastien Melmoth, Light vs. Void, Literary Pastiche, The Not-So-Good Samaritan, Women’s Suffrage, 'Total-Dick Literature,' Gesamtkunstwerk, Birth of a Nation, Cathedrals." Which puts it nicely, although they could've mentioned schizophrenia too.

In Salon: a review of F.C. Ware's new Acme Novelty Library book. ("Day pass" required, sorry.)

In Spin, a review of the New Pornographers' Twin Cinema.

In Seattle Weekly, a review of Death Cab for Cutie's Plans. And here is another Smallmouth column I forgot to link earlier, this one on Richard Hell, Judee Sill, Slapp Happy, and the misplaced sound of 1974.

Also: two pieces in the Village Voice. This one is about '20s banjo player Charlie Poole and You Ain't Talkin' to Me; this one is about payola in the music industry.

(And, Carl asks, what was I so all-fired angry about the other week? The fact that the Voice just slashed its pay rates for freelancers--this after not having increased them in the close-to-a-decade I've been working for them. When I moved to New York in 1992, it was my dream that someday I'd be able to write for the Voice, and it's been a joy to work with editors like Chuck Eddy, Robert Christgau, Eric Weisbard, Ed Park and, really, everyone else I've dealt with there. The pay cut is an insult to them and to everyone who writes for the paper. I am a freelancer, which means I don't get health benefits or paid vacations or job security; what I do have is the ability to walk away when one of my employers insults me. So I've quit; those two articles are my final pieces for the Voice until they reinstate decent rates for their writers.)

(Is it unseemly to talk about financial compensation issues in a public place? That's exactly what people who want to rip us off are counting on us thinking.)

Alex suggests that Beethoven and Bob Dylan "make sense when the world becomes apocalyptic." And so does Charley Patton, as Dylan knows and I think Alex does too. His "High Water Everywhere" isn't metaphorical, it's just despair-soaked literal art-as-reportage on the Mississippi flood of 1927--by the time the "ice sled" shows up, if you're not shaking you're not paying attention (lyrics lifted from this site; looked for an MP3 and couldn't find one, but besides Revenant's ultra-deluxe Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues there's a cheap Patton anthology on JSP that's also on eMusic):

Well, backwater done rose all around Sumner now,
drove me down the line
Backwater done rose at Sumner,
drove poor Charley down the line
Lord, I'll tell the world the water,
done crept through this town

Lord, the whole round country,
Lord, river has overflowed
Lord, the whole round country,
man, is overflowed
You know I can't stay here,
I'll go where it's high, boy
I would go to the hilly country,
but they got me barred

Now, look-a here now at Leland,
river was risin' high
Look-a here boys around Leland tell me,
river was raisin' high
Boy, it's risin' over there, yeah
I'm gonna move to Greenville,
'fore I leave, goodbye

Look-a here the water now, Lordy,
Levee broke, rose most everywhere
The water at Greenville and Leland,
Lord, it done rose everywhere
Boy, you can't never stay here
I would go down to Rosedale,
but they tell me there's water there

Now, the water now, mama,
done took Charley's town
Well, they tell me the water,
done took Charley's town
Boy, I'm goin' to Vicksburg
Well, I'm goin' to Vicksburg,
for that high of mine

I am goin' up that water,
where lands don't never flow
Well, I'm goin' over the hill where,
water, oh don't ever flow
Boy, hit Sharkey County and everything was down in Stovall
But, that whole county was leavin',
over that Tallahatchie shore
Boy, went to Tallahatchie and got it over there

Lord, the water done rushed all over,
down old Jackson road
Lord, the water done raised,
over the Jackson road
Boy, it starched my clothes
I'm goin' back to the hilly country,
won't be worried no more

Backwater at Blytheville, backed up all around
Backwater at Blytheville, done took Joiner town
It was fifty families and children come to sink and drown

The water was risin' up at my friend's door
The water was risin' up at my friend's door
The man said to his womenfolk, "Lord, we'd better go"

The water was risin', got up in my bed
Lord, the water was rollin', got up to my bed
I thought I would take a trip, Lord, out on the big ice sled

Oh, I can hear, Lord, Lord, water upon my door,
you know what I mean, look-a here
I hear the ice, Lord, Lord, was sinkin' down,
I couldn't get no boats there, Marion City gone down

So high the water was risin' our men sinkin' down
Man, the water was risin' at places all around,
boy, they's all around
It was fifty men and children come to sink and drown

Oh, Lordy, women and grown men drown
Oh, women and children sinkin' down
Lord, have mercy
I couldn't see nobody's home and wasn't no one to be found

Posted by Douglas at September 7, 2005 10:17 PM | TrackBack
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