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Archive for the ‘Arthur Miller’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: COCTEAU TWINS-“Oomingmak” (1986).

In Stuart David’s book, In The All-Night Café, he lists the songs on a mixtape that Stuart Murdoch gave to him when they first met.

Although I’ve been a fan of Belle & Sebastian for a long time, I knew almost none of the songs on this mixtape.  So, much like Stuart David, I’m listening to them for the first time trying to see how they inspire Stuart Murdoch.

In the book, David writes how much he does not like “rock,” especially music based around bluesy rock.  Most of these songs, accordingly, do not do that.  In fact, most of these songs are (unsurprisingly) soft and delicate.

Of all the bands on the list, Cocteau Twins were the one I know (and like) best.  I’ve been a fan since 1987, so just after this album came out.  I never remember which songs are which by them, because they have titles like “Oomingmak.”

Cocteau Twins are a magical band and at the time (and perhaps even now) no one sounded like them.  Their music is so ethereal, it practically floats away both because of the shimmering echoing guitars of Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Frasier’s high pitched vocals–often with non-intelligible words. [I honestly never knew she was actually singing words, but I see she was].

This song is the shortest song on Victorialand.  It has a fast repeating guitar line and Fraser singing softly.  Toward the end, she sings harmonies with herself in her slightly more harsh sounding vocal style.  It’s a lovely song, as all of their are.

[READ: January 20, 2021] “Touched”

Reading this right after reading the Arthur Miller story was really strange.  Because here was another thirteen year-old boy possibly having sex with an adult woman.

The story opens on Ali, the thirteen year-old.  His Bombay family has visited him in England and are now returning to India.  Ali was very sad to see them go,

Ali was most upset because his cousin Zahida was leaving. She was a year older than him.  She had pressed her lips to his and then they ran up into the attic together and then

he continued caressinuntil, making his way through intricate whirls of material, he reached her flesh and slid his hand into the top of the crack.

He was suddenly concerned about being discovered they quickly separated.

Wow. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE WEATHER PROPHETS-“Almost Prayed” (1987).

In Stuart David’s book, In The All-Night Café, he lists the songs on a mixtape that Stuart Murdoch gave to him when they first met.

Although I’ve been a fan of Belle & Sebastian for a long time, I knew almost none of the songs on this mixtape.  So, much like Stuart David, I’m listening to them for the first time trying to see how they inspire Stuart Murdoch.

In the book, David writes how much he does not like “rock,” especially music based around bluesy rock.  Most of these songs, accordingly, do not do that.  In fact, most of these songs are (unsurprisingly) soft and delicate

I’ve been listening to all of these songs on Spotify.  So far, most of the songs have been deep cuts, but this one was The Weather Prophets’ number one song.

I’d never heard of them.  They put out two albums on the Creation label (in fact, Creation head honcho Alan McGee played bass in the band for a short time), and so it’s probably no surprise that they sound a but like The Stone Roses.  This is, so far, the bounciest and most immediately catchy song on the mixtape.

The guitars jangle, although not as much as in some of the other songs.  Like in most of the other songs, the singer kind of sing-speaks, although less than the others.  The biggest difference with this is that it really moves along a clip–much faster than the other songs.  A good pick me up in a mix tape.

[READ: January 20, 2021] “Bulldog”

I know that fiction is not true.  I know that.  But realistic fiction tends to be based on something.  So if this is based on something, then either Arthur Miller lived a very different life than I could imagine or things were very different in the 1920s.  I also had no idea that Arthur Miller was still alive in 2001 (he died in 2005).

This is a fairly simple story: a thirteen year-old boy sees an ad for puppies for sale.  They are brindle bulldogs for sale for $3 each.  The boy has some money (although $3 is a large chunk of it).  He bought an apple tree and a pear tree last year (30 cents each), so he is accustomed to spending money.  But his family has never had a dog–his brother even makes fun of him for wanting one.  What are you going to feed it, soup?

He travels across the city to the apartment in Brooklyn.  The woman opens the door in a robe and seems annoyed.  When he says he’s there for the dog, she loosens up and invites him in.  She asks his age and when he says 13 she seems tickled by that.

The look at the puppies.  He had looked up what the puppies should look like in the World Book, but there were no pictures of brindle bulldogs.  He thought these puppies were just brown and didn’t look like a bulldog at all.

While he was holding the puppy, she sat next to him and her robe opened.  She was naked.  She kissed him and soon they were on the carpet together. (more…)

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harpoctSOUNDTRACK: THE DECEMBERISTS, LAND HO!, BOBBY KNIGHT RANGER, LETTERS TO CLEO and more on PARKS AND RECREATION (April 24, 2014).

unityLast night, in the season finale of Parks and Recreation, the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity concert finally happened.  And, despite them never talking about who would be at the concert, the final show list was surprising and maybe not so surprising.

To see the Decemberists play live was a huge surprise and was totally wonderful (and to see Jenny Conley on keyboards looking healthy was very nice) especially since they have been more or less on hiatus for a time.  Although maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise since Michael Schur directed a Decemberists video a few years back.

Ginuwine played a song as well (I don’t actually know him), and it shouldn’t have been a surprise because in a past episode it was revealed that character Donna is actually Ginuwine’s cousin.

Then came Letters to Cleo.  This was a surprise because they’ve been broken up for years and, aside from a hit were never really all that big (I was huge fan and saw them live once).  Although it was not a real surprise because Ben has been seen wearing an LtC shirt from time to time on the show.  Seeing him sing along to the chorus (off stage) was great.  I also just read that the drummer from LtC is the drummer in Andy’s band Mouse Rat.

Next was Bobby Knight Ranger, a hilarious visual joke of three members dressed like Bobby Knight (with really fake white wigs) who, played nothing but “Sister Christian” for their set.  At the end of their set they threw chairs.  It was a weird throwaway joke that was very funny.  It was made even funnier when during the credits it became clear that Bobby Knight Ranger was actually Yo La Tengo.  This is just surprising as I don’t know any connection there, but in my experience Yo La Tengo are game for anything.

Land Ho! finished the night.  Land Ho!, if you follow the show is Pawnee’s biggest band (fronted by Wilco dude Jeff Tweedy (!)).  They played a song and then Mouse Rate (and others) jammed with them for a holographic tribute to Li’l Sebastian (a running joke that I think is way overplayed and yet which makes me laugh every single time)..

I was so delighted to not know who was playing before hand because every band was a fun surprise.  But seriously, did these bands all fly in just to play one song?   Surely they must have done a few songs for the crowd.  And if so, I think it would behoove Parks and Rec to get a CD out of songs from the Unity Concert (including some solo Johnny Karate songs as well.

The episode itself was also quite good.  While I didn’t care too much for the Tom’s Bistro segment (most of the jokes were pretty obvious from the get go), it was nice to see so many old characters make a cameo.  In fact, with the concert and the old characters and the tidy wrap up, it felt more like a series finale than a season finale.

And, SPOILER ALERT UNTIL THE VIDEO CLIP OF LETTERS TO CLEO PASTED BELOW: I though that their meld from the scene in the office on the third floor with the sly tag of three years later was a stroke of genius.  I have been a little down on this season because I thought it was getting a bit overdone with Leslie’s failures and whatnot. I actually wanted her to get the hell out of Pawnee.  But the compromise of how she stayed made sense for the show (if she didn’t take that job I was done with the show).  I was also not looking forward to a year of Leslie being pregnant (the triplets thing was also lame to begin with).  So the fact that it was all utterly skipped over–the pregnancy, the baby problems, the sleepless nights, even the fact that we didn’t have any awkward transitions in the job and that Leslie is just settled into her new job was excellent.

I also loved that Ben and Leslie were off to do something interesting (with Ben in a tux) with no explanation–what a great cliffhanger.  Kudos for one of the best season enders I’ve seen in a long time.

[READ: April 24, 2014] “The Gifts of Anna Speight”

This was a confusing story.  Well that is because it is an excerpt from a novel and therefore doesn’t stand on its own.  But I don;t know if it was just the excerpt they chose, but I found it not very compelling at all.

The story is told in second person, with Sylvie telling “us” what she knows about the Wibletts Institution.  Sylvie knew someone whose son resided there.  He suffered from PKU, a recessive disorder associated with seizures, mental retardation and blue-green urine.

There are so many layers of storytelling involved here that I was quite confused as to just who was who when Jess was suddenly interested in the story of Bob Germen.  Germen’s son is the above mentioned resident.  She wants to know about Bob’s son.  First we learn that Jess knew a lot about literary figures with disabled or retarded siblings or children and later we learn that she has a special needs daughter, Anna.

But most of the excerpt talks about the literary figures. (more…)

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