cleaner than the barrel of a washing machine

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Lisa and I went to see the Clean last night--I believe they're about to do a U.S. tour opening for Yo La Tengo, and if you get a chance to see them, do. There are lots of bands I like who've been around on and off as long as they have (since '78 or so), but I can't think of any who've aged as gracefully as they have--they play together so naturally, it's a thrill to hear. The songs sound different now, since they've each changed the way they play: Hamish's drumming is subtler and more decorative than his old Mo Tucker slam, Robert is chording on his bass much more, David has realized he's got the best rhythm section on the planet and is letting them carry the beat while he opens up more space in his guitar playing. It probably helps that they don't have any particular hits they always have to play (with the possible exception of "Point That Thing Somewhere Else," of which the live album they were selling at the gig, Syd's Pink Wiring System, contains recorded version #11 or so--at this point I think of it more as a stylistic gesture than a signature song).

Audience was pretty old-school--I saw members of at least four of the bands that had been on Cleaned Out, the Clean tribute EP I put together, and that record came out 11 years ago.

Yesterday I was on a consumer-products high for much of the day, actually: the Fall's Peel sessions comp Words of Expectation rocks like I knew it would, the Alan Moore festschrift Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman is out... I thought again of that Mark Strand poem, "Eating Poetry":

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

Otherwise: I currently have 319 emails in my inbox, each one of which has something else I have to do before I can respond to/move/delete it. I described my life to L. yesterday as like a five-dimensional version of one of those 15-squre puzzles: much to be done, the way to each thing blocked by something else.


smoky man said:

Hi Douglas,
I was surfing on the web and I discover your site ( where I find yr mention to
"the Alan Moore festschrift Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman is out... ". I am the co-editor of the Moore tribute and I'd be more than please to know yr full opinion about it. Let me know...

A big Italian Ciao
smoky man -

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on June 5, 2003 9:32 AM.

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