June 2009 Archives

bubble soul


Amazing how multiple projects seem to get done at the same time—today’s batch included the big damn thing I’ve been tweaking for about a month now, and now there is a tall, relaxing pile of comic books awaiting me.

The biggest change in my life over the last month or so has been the introduction of regular doses of caffeine into it. I’d resisted the call of caffeine ever since college: at first it was probably a way of differentiating myself from my family, then I wanted to prove I could do whatever it was I was doing without “artificial stimulants” (and probably wasn’t mentally present for a lot of college because I was like totally straightedge and stuff), then I wanted to be the guy who drank juice in the morning instead of coffee (I can’t tell you how many Tropicana pints I sucked down en route to the subway in the mid-’90s), and then… I just never got into the habit. Every time I thought about it, I remembered the caffeine spider webs, and thought better of it. I wasn’t militant or anything—I’d drink the occasional Coke or Thai iced tea, and even tried coffee once or twice—but I found that it made me jittery and twitchy and even more judgmental than usual, which is saying something.

But a couple of years ago, when I was finishing Book #2, a trusted advisor suggested that a little green tea might not be so bad for me. I’ve flirted with it a few times—the occasional chai and so on—but for the last few weeks I’ve been careful to drink it almost every day. (I’ve also been careful to take at least one day off a week.) Surprise: I feel slightly but perceptibly more awake and alert. And only a little bit more jittery/twitchy/judgmental than normal.


hiding their nightingale


When I first saw the Inner Space’s soundtrack to Agilok & Blubbo in a record store a few months ago, I had a wave of excitement: an album I’d never heard by the band that turned into Can! And then I thought: no, this has to be a reissue, and if it were any good I’d already have heard it, right?; completism is the same thing that made me buy Out of Reach; life’s too short.

I left it on the shelf, and then found myself wishing I’d bought it—it was from 1968, just slightly before they recorded Delay and Monster Movie, and I’d never even heard of it before. I looked it up online, and discovered that it wasn’t a reissue, but a soundtrack that hadn’t been released at the time. So the next time I saw it, I bought it.

It’s interesting, because it’s audibly the work of the band that would make great records a few months later. (Jaki Liebezeit always sounds like himself.) It’s also terrible: half-in-the-bag psychedelic doodling with a recurring instrumental motif of the melody best known as “nanny nanny boo boo.” Also, somebody is playing flute, although it’s not clear from the liner notes whether it’s Irmin Schmidt or David Johnson, who seems to have left the band shortly after the recording. I’m sorry, but flute is impermissible in this context. I should’ve trusted my second impulse.

a wall both wider and more porous


Took me way too long, but I’ve finally updated the “things I’ve written lately” section over in the left column—now with links to my reviews of two of my favorite books of this year—Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man and Emmanuel Guibert’s The Photographer—as well as a whole lot of albums I’ve written about at Pitchfork, and a few other surprises.

I’ve been off in New York for the past couple of weeks—attending conferences and seeing friends and eating a lot of excellent Indian food, although the meal I had across the street from MoCCA was probably even better than the one I went out to Floral Park for. And now I’m back, and have a lot of things to tell you all about. But not tonight.

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