Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Yugoslavia’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 16, 2022] In the Jaws of Life

The version pictured here is not the one I read–there’s no pictures of it online!  My copy was translated by Celia Hawkesworth and Michael Henry Heim.

This book is a collection of short stories from throughout Ugrešić’s career.

The book has three (or 8) stories in it.  I discovered Ugrešić through The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar (story #2).  “Lend Me Your Character” was weird and cool and was probably my favorite story in the collection (it’s here as well).

When I read a little about Ugrešić, I found that she was born in Croatia, but left the region when the war in Yugolslavia broke out, saying she was post-national and refusing to acknowledge her Croatian heritage.  She currently resides in Amsterdam.

Her stories are wonderful mash ups of fairy tales, feminist theory, “traditional women’s writing” and a lot of sexuality.

“Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life (a patchwork novel)” (1981) [trans C.H.]
This story has so much going on that it’s easy to overlook that it’s a fairly straightforward story, just with a lot of filigree tacked on.  The story opens with a “Key to the Various Symbols” and includes things like — dotted lines with scissors (cut the text along the line as desired); slashes (pleats: make large thematic stitches on either side of the author’s seam); four equals signs (make a metatextual knot and draw in as desired).  And so on.  And the contents is actually listed as “The Paper Pattern” which lays out each section according to a sewing pattern.  Each section heading is given a parenthetical comment (tacking, padding, hemming, interfacing).

When you start the story you see that the symbols are indeed throughout the story, although honestly after a few pages I gave up trying to figure out what they might mean.

The story starts with the narrator saying that her friends told her to write “a women’s story.”  The author looks at several lonely hearts letters in the paper and picks the fifth one as the basis.  Steffie, aged 25, is a typist by profession.  She’s lonely and sad and lives with her aunt. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: RICK ROSS-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #169 (February 16, 2021).

I’ve heard Rick Ross’ name a lot although I don’t remember why–do people love him or hate him?  I can’t remember.

This Tiny Desk is fascinating because Ross is clearly in charge (he sits in the golden throne for some of the set), but the stars of this set are really Ross’s backing singers.  Elijah Blake (with the pink hair and muscles) and Troy Tyler have fantastic voices–singing backing and lead for most of the tracks.  And, actually I’m even more fond of his hype man DJ Sam Sneak, who is saying all kinds of things in the background in a kind of growl.  I’d love to hear his vocal track without Ross’ to really get all the things he’s shouting.

He starts with “Super High.”

This Tiny Desk marks just the second time Ross has performed with a live band. On “Super High,” from his Teflon Don album, drummer Rashid Williams and bassist Thaddaeus Tribbett lay down the foundation for Ross’ smooth cadence and signature nonchalance. Background singer and Ne-Yo protege Troy Tyler projects the lead vocal lines originally sung by his mentor.

I really like the intensity of the music in “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast).”  The heavy bass works well.  Sam Sneak is going to town with the responses.  Meanwhile, Elijah sings along accenting everything Ross raps. The live drums from Rashid Williams are great for this with heavy thumps and cymbals at the end of each line.

Blake sings lead on “Aston Martin Music.”  He has an impressive, delicate falsetto.

Monty Reynolds drops in with the sparse, yet catchy key melody that made it the contagious hit single it was in 2010.

Then Ross pauses.

At one point, Ross pauses between songs to speak on his inspirations. “So many inspired the Boss,” he says. “I could look at any brother on the street and get some inspiration from them, regardless of how many followers you got on social media, regardless of what you’re riding in. I could learn something from you. I ain’t scared to. Let’s make sure we keep building.”

“I’m Not A Star” is my favorite track–it’s got great intensity and it’s fun to watch everyone bouncing to the song.

“F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit” opens with samples from the DJ then adds low bass and sprinkled keys.  Ross says, “If you remember the Blockbuster days right now you’d be recording this with your VHS.  And I know you was one of them who never rewinded your shit after you watched it it and they charged you that extra $3 at Blockbuster.”

“Tears of Joy” ends the set with nice use of floor toms by Williams.  Dj Sam Sneak is hyping behind him.  And Troy sings backing on this one.  He’s really impressive.  The song ends as Ross rests in his chair while Elijah takes us out accompanied by grooving bass work.

[READ: March 31, 2021] “Rationed”

The September 3, 2007 issue of the New Yorker contained several essays by their writers about the subject “Family Dinner.”

Aleksander Hemon starts his essay talking about his family routine when he and his sister were adolescents.  His parents returned from work at 3:45PM.  They ate their dinner at 4PM.  [Four PM?  That is so early!]  Did they go to bed at 6?

They listened to the news on the radio, their parents asked them endless questions about school and the whole thing was done at 4:30 after the “you must be silent” for the four twenty-five weather report.

It was like a horrible oppression.  The childrens’ ideal meal would involve Bosnian fast food, comic books, television and no parents.

Then he was conscripted into the Yugolsav People’s Army. (more…)

Read Full Post »