Ease Your Feet in the Sea

ease your feet in the seaOne of my cousins got married in Chicago this weekend.  I could’ve gone to the ceremony except that a cousin wedding is so far down on my list of preferred activities that I never even really considered it.  I decided to stay in Cincinnati and take care of Kylie Momo.  Cat sitting can be kind of boring, but it’s still a lot better than a cousin wedding.  I managed to keep myself entertained by swimming laps in a nearby pool and writing a bunch of WordPress posts.  This is my sixth one this weekend.  The other five were:

  1. Winter Is Coming!
  2. Stuff I’ve Been Reading: An Occasional Column
  3. The Adventures of Nick Cave Dollbaby (NCDB)
  4. Tiger shark vs. Flying uniphant
  5. (Fats & the new tunes)

I usually write 10-12 posts per month, so six in a weekend is a lot for me.  These posts catch me up on most of my usual topics, so I’ve decided to take a rest.  Yes, I’m officially on Summer Break effective immediately.

Oh wait, not yet.  I forgot to write about the vintage photograph.  It came in the mail a few days ago.  I named it (and this post) after the Belle & Sebastian song from The Boy With the Arab Strap.

Okay, now I’m on Summer Break.  Off to the pool!

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(Fats & the new tunes)

Here are the records and CDs I got during Beth’s recent visit.  She wasn’t in town long, but we went to Everybody’s twice and stopped by Guestroom Records and Modern Cult Records while we were down in Louisville.  It all adds up.

fats plus

(Fats & the new tunes)

Let’s start up at the top and look at the columns from left to right:

  • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & the Cairo Gang - We Love Our Hole 7″ – This single comes with a “fart cloud” sticker.  You can see it shooting from the rear of the shadowy surfer on the cover.  Classy stuff.
  • Tsunami – Matchbook 7″ – This was my purchase from Modern Cult Records in Louisville.  I would’ve liked to have bought one of the paintings they had on display, but I’d already spent too much money by that time in the trip.
  • Fats Domino – The Legendary Imperial Recordings – Fats Domino is my favorite musical discovery of 2014.  It’s hard to believe that I only knew a couple of his songs (“Blueberry Hill” and “I’m Walkin’”) last year at this time.  So far I’ve purchased an LP, a hits compilation, and now this excellent four disc box set.
  • Gene Clark & Carla Olson – So Rebellious a Lover – I hadn’t seen a copy of this one for sale in a long time, so I picked it up when I saw it at Guestroom Records.  It was a bargain at $5.
  • the Someloves – Don’t Talk About Us: The Real Pop Recordings of the Someloves 1985-89 – This collection gathers the Australian band’s only record along with a bonus disc of singles, b-sides, and rarities.  I somehow found out about these guys while investigating the Orange Humble Band.
  • Record with a cartoon deer on the label
  • Joe Henry – Invisible Hour – I’ll buy anything and everything that Joe Henry releases.  This new CD came with an album’s worth of demos available as a bonus digital download.
  • Hauschka – Abandoned City – Guestroom had this new for $8.95.  I believe the pianist played a couple of these songs when I saw him in concert back in January.
  • Spottiswoode & His Enemies – English Dream – Crankypants somehow ended up with two copies of this CD and was kind enough to give me one when I saw her at the Nick Cave concert in Louisville.  I’m not all that familiar with the band, but I like what I’ve heard so far.  The vocals remind me of someone else I like, but I can’t seem to figure out who.
  • Cowboy Junkies – Trinity Revisited – This is the other CD I picked up at Guestroom.  Beth and I watched the bonus DVD of the band and their guests performing the songs from The Trinity Session.  It was sad to see Vic Chesnutt again.  I still miss that little shit.
  • Various Artists – The Doo Wop Box – The question I had to ask myself at Everybody’s was this: Do I really need 101 doo wop songs?  The answer, of course, was a resounding yes.
  • Afraid of Stairs/Beach Vacation – Lied/I Saw You split 7″ 
  • Math & Physics Club/Mannone Alone – It Must Be Summer Somewhere/Eddie split 7″
  • Fireflies/Wallflower – Underneath the Moon/You’ll Be There split 7″ - This single and the two above it are the second half of the 2014 Singles Club Box from Jigsaw and Duffelcoat Records.  Jigsaw still has a few copies left as of this writing.
random act of records

(left behind)

That record with the cartoon deer on the label got left on a doorstep in what Beth called “a random act of records”.

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Tiger shark vs. Flying uniphant

Here’s some graffiti we found in Louisville around the corner from Guestroom Records and that bakery that sells the largest pieces of red velvet cake ever. Sweet Surrender, I think it was called.

tigerphant

(we’re street art!)

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The Adventures of Nick Cave Dollbaby (NCDB)

Nick Cave Dollbaby (NCDB) recently drove down to Kentucky to see his fleshy counterpart perform a concert at the Louisville Palace.  Here are some shots from the trip:

NCDB has a coffee

(NCDB starts off the day with a fancy coffee.)

NCDB and his travel buddies

(NCDB travels to Louisville with his spiritual advisors.)

NCDB arrives at the 21c

(NCDB checks in at the 21c Museum Hotel and chills out before the show.)

NCDB and the statue

(NCDB arrives at the theatre and checks out the sights.)

NCDB gets ready to take the stage

(NCDB rocks out!)

NCDB strolls along in the 21c

(NCDB is sad after the show and takes a walk by himself. It’s hard being NCDB.)

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Stuff I’ve Been Reading: An Occasional Column

Paris Stories–Mavis Gallant
It had gotten to the point where I felt confident purchasing any book published by NYRB Classics.  My record with them was about 15-0.  That’s when I bought Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories based entirely on the title and the NYRB logo on the spine.  What can I say about Paris Stories?  Well, it’s probably a good book.  It’s not, however, a book for me.  It took me four months to get through this collection and every page was a snooze-enducing chore.  The only part of the book I actually enjoyed reading was the author’s afterword.  Mavis Gallant comes off as a very interesting woman.  I feel sort of bad that I didn’t like her stories more.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

Wild Child–T.C. Boyle
A Death in Kitchawank–T.C. Boyle
T.C. Boyle Stories II brings together the author’s three most recent short story collections: After the Plague (2001), Tooth and Claw (2005), and Wild Child (2010).  It also features a new collection entitled A Death in Kitchawank.  I had already read the first two collections in the book, so I began reading Stories II on page 463.  That still left me with 28 new stories.

Despite the fact that I somehow managed to skip over Wild Child until now, T.C. Boyle is one of my favorite contemporary short story writers.  His T.C. Boyle Stories (1998)–which brought together his first four collections–is a modern classic and probably the book I’d take with me to the desert island, space station, etc.  And I’m happy to say that Stories II isn’t far off from that high standard.  There wasn’t a single dud in the batch of stories I read.  Some of my favorite stories from Wild Child and A Death in Kitchawank were about the following:

  • A father drives drunk to pick up his daughters from soccer practice and then has one of the girls take the wheel for the trip home.
  • A Mexican boy who doesn’t feel pain may hold the key to a major scientific breakthrough…or he might just be a way to make some quick pesos.
  • A professional baseball player heads off into the jungle to rescue his kidnapped mother.
  • A rich couple spends a quarter of a million dollars to clone their dead shit-eating, car-chasing dog.
  • A widower gets a companion snake after his wife dies but ends up preferring the company of the rats he buys for the snake’s meals.
  • A man decides it’s a good idea to put on a ski mask and climb onto his neighbor’s roof as an expression of devotion and sexual availability.
  • Russian peasants sneak back to their homes despite the fact that the land is still coursing full of radiation from a recent nuclear disaster.
  • A Central American ruler plans to defeat his country’s enemies by breeding all the largest citizens to create an army of giants.
  • A hermit dies alone in his house and a neighbor discovers and reads his journals.  The hermit used to be a heavy metal musician!

Perhaps the story that will stick with me longest is “Good Home”.  I don’t want to go into details about the story as some might find it disturbing, but I’d really like to talk to someone who’s read it and maybe pick their brain about what they think happened at the end.  Never has so much depended on a sentence as seemingly simple as “Steve was out somewhere.”

I got Stories II from the library because I already had half of the stories on my shelf.  I enjoyed the book so much, though, that I think I’ll buy a copy for myself.  I’m sure I’ll want to have it on hand when I eventually write my Best of 2014 post.  And you never know when I’ll find someone willing to read “Good Home”.  It’s not like I can lend them a library book.

Journey Into the Past–Stefan Zweig
Not knowing they were capable of publishing a book I didn’t like, I’d accumulated a backlog of unread NYRB Classics.  The whole thing went south with Paris Stories and continued in that direction with Stefan Zweig’s Journey Into the Past.  The novella is about a man who falls in love with his boss’s wife.  The boss sends the man to South America on a business trip.  World War I breaks out while he’s over there and it’s many years before he can safely return home.  Can the man and the woman pick up where they left off?  Will their love affair survive the passage of time?  These are the questions this novella tries to answer.  Perhaps a better question would be this: did Stefan Zweig ever kiss a woman in real life?  Because he writes romance like it’s a foreign concept.

The Price of Salt–Patricia Highsmith
I’d never heard of The Price of Salt until I read a local news story that said Cate Blanchett was in town filming an adaptation of the book with the actress who played the main character in David Fincher’s completely unnecessary remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  The actress whose name I can’t remember is going to play Therese, the main character in The Price of Salt.  She’s a young department store clerk who longs to be a stage designer.  She falls in love with a glamorous customer named Carol (Cate Blanchett in the movie).  Despite the difference in their ages and the fact that they live in an early 50′s New York where lesbianism is severely frowned upon, the two women fall in love and go on a roadtrip…followed closely behind by the private detective hired by Carol’s vengeful husband.

The Price of Salt is supposed to be a major work of lesbian fiction and a criminally neglected classic.  I don’t care about any of that.  It’s just a really good book.  I highly recommend it.

The Letter Killers Club–Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Krzhizhanovsky’s short story collection Memories of the Future was one of the great reading surprises of 2010.  I’d never heard of the author and bought the book based solely on its title.  It was actually one of my first NYRB Classics.  I loved the book and kept my eyes open for other Krzhizhanovsky titles.  I eventually found and purchased The Letter Killers Club, a novel about a group of men who secretly gather in a library full of empty bookshelves to share story ideas called “conceptions”.  The first rule of The Letter Killers Club is that the members can’t write anything down.  It has something to do with purity and something to do with Soviet-era censorship.  It’s a pretty cool idea for a book, but I think it falls apart due to the weakness of some of the members’ shared concepts.  Of the five shared concepts, I only cared for one of them.

So it turns out NYRB Classics is just as fallible as any other publishing house.  The Letter Killers Club was my third book in a row of theirs that didn’t do much for me.  I guess 15-3 is still a good record.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection–Stephen J. Sansweet
This book features pictures of every Star Wars action figure produced between the years 1977-2012.  In addition to the pictures, there are short blurbs about each of the toys.  The book was fun to look through until I got to the 47 pages dedicated to all the Clone Trooper variations.  There were an average of 6 figures per page, so that means that they made over 280 different kinds of Clone Troopers.  And they all looked pretty much the same.  I was so relieved when I finally got to the Cloud Car Pilot.  There were only four of him.

CURRENTLY READING:
???

t.c. boyle and other books

(Stories II…and other books)

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Winter is coming!

How do I know?  Well, there’s a White Walker living in my freezer.

white walker

(wraarghh!)

The power went out the day after I took this picture and most of his icy base melted, but the White Walker still pokes at me with his spear every time I go in for a popsicle.

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds @ the Louisville Palace (6/16/14)

Today featured a power outage, a busted air conditioner, a forgotten wallet, unbearable heat, and approximately 20,000 orange construction barrels on the road from Cincinnati to Louisville, but it ended on a positive note with a chance spotting of Nick Cave and a couple Bad Seeds in our hotel.  Somewhere in between the barrels and the brush with celebrity was a meet-up with friends and an amazing concert.  The setlist from that concert is as follows:

Main Set: We No Who U R/Jubilee Street/Tupelo/Red Right Hand/Mermaids/The Weeping Song/From Her to Eternity/West Country Girl/Into My Arms/God Is in the House/Higgs Boson Blues/The Mercy Seat/Stagger Lee/Push the Sky Away

Encore: The Ship Song/Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry/The Lyre of Orpheus

And I either used the world’s greatest urinal, or I peed on some art.  The 21c is a strange hotel.

image

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Word count: 519

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be any more interesting for you.  Feel free to skip this one and revisit those photos I posted last Friday.  Or go somewhere else entirely.

This first picture shows all of the non-jazz CDs I’ve acquired since the last time.  I use the word “acquired” instead of “purchased” because a few of these were given to me by the nice guy who runs Everybody’s Records.  There’s a lot of good stuff here including a Clientele reissue with much better sound than the original release, two Wussys (including one that will certainly win Worst Cover Art of the Year), the latest in Bob Dylan’s ongoing Bootleg Series, a power pop rarity from the Windbreakers, new CDs by the Old 97′s and Eels, some Trojan Reggae box sets, and the soundtrack to the short-lived television show Pan Am.  Perhaps the best thing here is the one item I haven’t actually bothered opening yet…the deluxe 3 CD edition of NME’s C86 collection.  That one’s going to be indie pop goodness right there.  I’m going to try to save it for next week’s trip to Louisville, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out that long.
all the other musicThe great thing about being an Eydie Gormé fan is that many of her records have lovely cover art and most of them can be found for 99 cents.  This batch of four cost me a total of $2.97.  The one with Eydie holding cardboard ice cream cones never fails to put a smile on my face.  I really like her pink and black house.

eydie gorme recordsEverybody’s Records recently acquired and put up for sale a large collection of used jazz CDs.  I bought ten of them.  Although I will listen to just about anything from the Rudy Van Gelder reissue series, my primary interest these days is tracking down recordings that feature Big John Patton on organ or Grant Green on guitar.  I’m especially happy when I can find those two working together.  Lou Donaldson’s Good Gracious! (with rump-checkin’ cover art), John Patton’s Got a Good Thing Goin’, and Grant Green’s Blues For Lou and Iron City all feature the Patton/Green combo.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I can listen to those guys all day long.new jazz Here’s the last batch of records.  That’s a Wesley Stace LP on gold see-through vinyl up at the top left.  Despite the fact that I picked it up as a leftover a few days after Record Store Day, it’s probably my favorite RSD release this year.  The copy of Surrounded right next to it was purchased directly from Richard Buckner in my very own foyer.  The only other thing that needs to be mentioned in this batch is the Watermelon Sugar 10″ EP down at the bottom left.  I bought it because one of the band members is the relative of a friend, but it’s actually pretty good.  “A Place By the Sea” is one of my favorite songs so far this year. new recordsAnd that’s everything until that slacker Amazon seller gets around to shipping my Someloves collection.

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This Is My Old Boy…and other vintage photographs.

Please accept these five old snapshots as weekend entertainment:

Starting up at the top left:

1. This first picture is from my small collection of snapshots featuring girls with guitars. I like this one in particular because the guitarist reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of Carole King when she was a little girl. It’s not Carole King, of course. A legit vintage photograph of a young Carole King playing the guitar would probably be quite valuable. At least it would cost more than $3.

2. The second picture (moving to the right) features old favorites Marion and Herb Timm having a party of some sort with Herb’s brother, Arnold. That’s Arnold scowling over on the left. I get the feeling that Marion isn’t a very good card player as it appears she’s holding her hand for all to see.

3. The final photograph in that top row is a strange one.  There’s just something about the pose that seems awkward and unnatural to me.  It reminds me of a painting I once saw at the Tate Gallery in London of a professor-type with a big beard.  The man in the painting was in a similar pose.  I’ve been trying to track down that painting for years, but it’s difficult as I don’t remember what it’s called or who painted it.  I call this photo “This Is My Old Boy” because of the humorous note scrawled on the back.

4.  I wonder if this woman drinking from the water fountain is the same woman featured in this post.

5.  Most of these photographs were purchased from Fairlook Antiques in Pioneer Square back in February.  This last picture of four smiling women on a ship is a later find that came through my eBay feed.  It’s the first new addition to my Women+Boat/Ship series in quite awhile.  There was another shot of these same women with a lecherous old sea captain-type, but I let that one go by.  The woman over on the left is my favorite.  Her smile is barely there and she’s wearing high-waisted pants.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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My Nick Cave Dollbaby is all fucked up!

Today I purchased the Nick Cave Dollbaby that RPM put out a couple months ago for Record Store Day 2014.  I thought it would be fun to put the Nick Cave Dollbaby on my dashboard for when Beth and I drive down to Louisville to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in concert on the 16th.  He could stand there on the dash and lead the way like a plastic Jesus or one of those wiggling hula girls you can get in Hawaii.  Sure, the Nick Cave Dollbaby might block my view of other cars on the road, but he’d look pretty cool up there doing it.  At least the box makes him look pretty cool:

nick cave dollbaby boxBut then I got home and opened the box to find that my Nick Cave Dollbaby is all fucked up.  They painted his head on there sideways and way too low.  He doesn’t even have a chin.

my nick cave dollbaby is all fucked upThat Nick Cave Dollbaby should never have made it out of the factory.  RPM Quality Control should’ve caught this guy before he got boxed and tossed him in the dud bin.  Grrrr.  I haven’t been this mad at something so inconsequential since Tuesday.

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