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Monday, July 22, 2002

i am home sick today. well not technically "sick," i guess. let's just say "in considerable pain." yesterday i had the misfortune of sitting on a chair that was not all there. yes, it gave way underneath me. and, since i have been suffering from a back injury since last april, the mishap was way more detrimental to my well-being than it should have been. i know i should still be in bed, blah, blah, blah, but i feel like sharing some stuff i found this morning and blabbing some more about music and such.

and, though "guilt" is my middle name, according to website i found the other day (the link's now broken, or i'd provide one), i should feel like i am doing my civic duty by taking the day off. so there!

anyway, my journey began at 3 am magazine, a self-consciously hip, international culture-vulture zine, which made very little impression, despite the fact that they occasionally publish the oft-fascinating "visual radio" playlists of bart "wreck this mess" plantenga in amsterdam (how i found the site in the first place). but using an initial link to one of my favorite irony-laden british zines, the idler, as a springboard, i was able to get a heapin' helpin' of that inimitable, cheeky limey humor i love so much.

i visited with the ever-foppish chap, the self-proclaimed "lapis lazuli of the blank generation." i found out where to start if hk and i ever decide to chuck it all and become goat herders in the mountians of southern france. i learned how to join the real "establishment," which is, of course, the peter cook appreciation society. i tittered nervously as anxiety culture's family values generator (tm) spawned random tidbits of demoralizing parental invective. there's even a censoring feature for the very young and/or faint of heart. my favorite so far? "grow up, you loathsome shrimp-child." i have always, by the way, found "shrimp" to be one of the most amusing words in the english language. the phrase "shrimp toast" is even funnier to me. i don't know why.

later, i peeked in on my favorite of the london dailies, the guardian. i always enjoyed reading the guardian's g2 section on my visor for the five seconds of my life that i actually used a handheld pda. the most amusing thing i found today, though, was this quiz in honor the tate modern's current matisse and picasso exhibition. the results declared that i was more of a matisse person than a picasso person, but i beg to differ.

finally, i stumbled upon these pictures of cats that hate me (and probably you, too).

random spoe spew department, #2
today spoe, my amazing ipod, has spewn forth thus: the sweet - “little willy”
inside, outside, willy sends them silly with his star-shine shimmy shuffle smile

you do think i only listen to oldies, don't you? ha! well, spoe has spewn forth, and indeed it is "little willy." i loved this song with all my heart when i was a little kid. i still love the song, and i work out to it at the gym quite often, as it never fails to cheer me up. and oh god, the modulation before the final chorus! woo! this is pop music at it's finest. it's not surprising, however, the amount of vitriol fans of the "real" sweet--their hard rockin' glam side, anyway--have for this unabashed, hit-making musical confection. (i can't find a link right now, but i know there are rants out there.) but it's not like the sweet didn't have other pop songs. what about "fox on the run" and its ilk? yummy.

continuing on the random tip, spoe did an amazing segue yesterday. he went from anton bruhin's deliciously weird "die welt" into sun city girls' "drifters of the grand turk," a segue which worked so well, i think i may use it myself next time i host ktru's genetic memory program.

non-random spoe spew department, #1
i realized this morning that there were things i wanted to say about some of my ipod favorites, and they may never come up randomly in this blog's lifetime, so i created this department.

the aforementioned back injury means a lot of supine time. and when i'm supine, spoe is often with me, randomly pulling selections from his "introspective" folder, which contains a wide variety of tracks i like to relax and fall asleep to. here are two of them.

songs:ohia - "the lioness"
whether you save me, whether you savage me...want my last look to be the moon in your eyes, want my heart to break, if it must break, in your jaws...want you to lick my blood off your paws

never mind that i have what some might call a mild obsession with lions. this is one of the most powerful and affecting songs i have ever heard, metaphorically expressing the intensity and treachery of the need for physical love. when listening to this song with headphones, i have a visceral reaction to it that almost disturbs me, but it's like a thrillride that i can't--and don't want to--get off. and the music is beautiful, too. the guitar riff that accompanies & echoes the line "i will swim to you" is hauntingly lovely. it gets me every time.

ironically enough, this morning spoe followed "the lioness" with kreidler's "mnemorex," a nice song somewhat marred by the startlingly shallow, "witty" wordplay of guest vocalist momus. (coincidentally, though, there is a line about lions!) i used to love momus. what happened? i admire his intellect but i sense hubris and disingenuousness. and i can't really listen to much of his music anymore. (sorry holly.)

reindeer section - "if everything fell quiet"
be my hope, i'll be your hope...be the hair that knots with my hair...be the drink when i am thirsty...be the hand i hold at night

it seems everyone is raving about the new, 2nd full-length from sebadoh-influenced scottish indie-supergroup reindeer section, and despite the fact that i've only heard it through once, i might tend to agree. this track is from reindeer section's first release, "y'all get scared now, ya hear!," which is generally judged to be the weaker of the two. but this is a wonderful love song. it makes me want to go and find hk, no matter what he's doing, and tell him how how much i love him and how lucky i am to have found him. call me a freak, but this one makes me a little weepy. (as does "the lioness.")

ok, enough soul-baring for one day. need more bed rest. sweet reg-eye-na's gone to china. xox nan
nan 2:45 PM

Thursday, July 18, 2002

hello world. i am nan. so very pleased to meet you. welcome to yet another proverbial tree falling in the proverbial forest.

i’ve always had a crippling fear of the blank page. and now, presented with this pristine space, this tabula rasa, i wither and wimpify.

but i gotta blog. i mean, everybody's doin' it, right? so, i have decided to structure things a bit by doing a handful of recurring columns--"departments," let's say--that i'll rotate through as the mood strikes, as the world turns. i’ll probably be making them up as i go along, but i’d be willing to bet that they'll generally deal with music and arty farty things in accordance with my proclivities; and since i love chance operations, they'll most likely involve some element of randomness, too.

so, without further ado…

random spoe spew department, #1
spoe is the name of my shiny, sort of new 10gb ipod. (and no, it’s not full yet!) he is named after a character in a delightfully inscrutable game created by the folks at elfcut, a delightfully inscrutable record label based in belgium. in this department i will put on the headphones, fire up spoe (on random play, of course), and write a spontaneous review of whatever track comes up. no cheating! (please pardon my anthropomorphization of spoe, by the way. call me crazy, but i think of spoe as a friend. and he once astounded me one sleepless night when he randomly chose to play the last two songs heard in almost famous—led zep’s “tangerine” from the final montage and the beach boy’s “feel flows” from the closing credits—out of all the tracks on my ipod, and in the proper order, too. and i absolutely love almost famous, by the way. especially the ending. spoe knows me, ok?)

today’s random spoe spew is: love sculpture - “in the land of the few”
in the land of the few they believe me…
oh god, now you’re going to think i only listen to oldies. so not true, but stick with me and you’ll see. anyway, this is what dave edmonds was doing in the late sixties. classically inspired virtuoso-psych from britain. i suppose this is somewhat of an inauspicious kickoff to this department, as i really don’t know what else to say about this track, except that it harbors one beauteous, kickass bridge. and, believe you me, i highly admire the ability to write a kickass bridge. that’s one thing that todd rundgren was always so good at in the early days. i mean “forget all about it” from the “nazz nazz” album? the best bridge ever. heartstopping. chill-giving. and this track is no slouch in the chill-giving department, either.

we are the 80s, too, dammit department, #1
in which nan sticks her hand into her stack of reasonably obscure 80s vinyl records, et voilà!

today’s 80s find is: various artists – “bludgeoned! a collection” on the bludgeoned! label, featuring tracks by close lobsters, the shrubs, the blue aeroplanes, the dentists, brilliant corners, blyth power, etc. for a while in the 80s, i used to put little stickers on albums indicating where i bought them. so i can clearly tell that i purchased this sweet, ever-so-indie compilation at plastic passion in blenheim crescent, london. but i didn’t need reminding in this case. i bought this when i was a wide-eyed young thing on her first trip to england to meet the objects of her musical affection, the dentists. on the back of the record, the address for bludgeoned! is given as bristol, but i clearly remember dentists’ bassist mark matthews and i riding out to an east or west ham tower block on the tube to meet and talk indiepop with the fresh-faced label owner. i don’t remember much about most of the tracks on here, but the dentists’ track “ugly” is ace. and so ironic, too. lead singer mick murphy singing, “am i so ugly girl, you don’t love me anymore”? what a heartbreaker.

and finally, today’s bookmarks from nancy’s arsenal:
hk and i are going to a karaoke going away party tomorrow, so here are two vastly different karaoke-related links:
dictionaraoke , which features parodies of “popular” (um, culturcide and carcass are included!) songs using karaoke-style (read: “midi”) backing music with all “vocals” provided by audio pronounciation samples from online dictionaries. note: this is the mirror site. the main one seems to have gone kaputsky, at least for the time being, so visit while you can.
beatle karaoke, for the beatle fan who likes to sing along.

taters. xox, nan
nan 8:25 PM

Monday, July 08, 2002

coming soon! ok!
nan 8:00 PM

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