May I come in? – Random gum of May 2018 soundtrack

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Time again for another monthly random gum music mix; music for May 2018. To discover all my playlists on Spotify and follow me.

I don’t have any words of wisdom this month. I’ve been busy with my sudden students status, but nothing ever stops me from finding and listening to music. I invite you to listen, too.

May I Come In? – Random Gum – May 2018

01 Nico – “The Fairest of the Seasons…Yes and the morning has me/Looking in your eyes/And seeing mine warning me/To read the signs carefully…
Love for and thanks to AB… “Now that I’ve tried/Now that I’ve finally found that this is not the way”.
02 Brigid Mae Power – “Let Me Go Now”
Heartbreaking. “It was just too hard to love unconditionally/you can let me go now, that’s okay/it was just too hard to love in that way”
03 Belle & Sebastian – “Nobody’s Empire”
Glasgow love. “There was a girl that sang like the chime of a bell/And she put out her arm and she touched me when I was in hell”
04 Feu! Chatterton – “Grace”
The French past. “Le tendre passé qui nous hante/Croît comme un jardin vivant/Un terrain vague/Peuplé de très vieux mirages/De fleurs sauvages”
05 Akofa Akoussah – “I Tcho Tchass
Tales of Togo and Togolese radio
06 Lower Dens – “Your Heart Still Beating”
“Your heart is still beating in all of my dreams/And I swore again and again/Never again”
07 The Helio Sequence – “Deuces” …now I’m gone/you’ve lost your hold on me…
PNW. “I don’t wanna be cool, I don’t wanna be distant/Or harbor grief for you/And I don’t mean to be cool, I don’t need to seem never like/I’m holding out for you”
08 Tortoise – “Yonder Blue” …Oh, I’ll fill the ocean with tears until I find you…
09 Gentle Hen – “The People You See Regularly Never Grow Old”
Hold them horses, hen.
10 Twerps – “Dreamin”
Australia/Melbourne
11 The Communards – “Don’t Leave Me This Way
Glasgow disco. SD
12 BC Unidos, Shungudzo – “Ouagadougou
13 Belly – “Superconnected”
Memories of driving-around singalong sessions with dear Tara in the mid-90s and our continued connection
14 Alberteen – “Infant Nation”
Thanks to inimitable AB
15 Silver Apples – “I Have Known Love”
16 Veronika Boulytcheva, Natalia Ermilova – “Ouj i ja li moloda”
A song that hurts most people’s ears – reminds me of college and my dad saying this sounds like ”wailing Chinese people”
17 Yo La Tengo – ”Pablo and Andrea” …someone came and took all the roses away…
“I’ll cover for you like a slipcover covers a chair”
18 Geowulf – “Greatest Fool”
Aussies in London. “Point at me and laugh, my love/’Cause I thought we were enough/Guess I make the greatest fool/Gentlemen, I’ll humor you”
19 Julian Cope – “Sunspots” …I’m in love with my very best friend…
Back to high school and the nightmare “environmental camp” I went to one year trying to make a friend feel better
20 Hoshi – “Comment je vais faire” (acoustic version)
21 Alabama Shakes – “Dunes” …Somewhere in me, a memory that I cannot gather anymore…
22 Delta 5 – “Mind Your Own Business”
Words of wisdom
23 Diane Coffee – “Hymn”
“So come on, walk to your house/You put a record on”. Afternoons after school listening to records, love to my school friends (Terra, Leighanne, Gary)
24 Sugar Candy Mountain – “Atlas”
25 Lost Horizons – “The Places We’ve Been”
Vocals by Karen Peris from The Innocence Mission
26 Cinerama – “Tie Me Up”
“You own me, you own me, and I’m not arguing”
27 Emily King – “Sleepwalker”
“I feel my body move without me again/Ooh, like a sleepwalker getting closer to him”
28 Tracy Chapman – “Smoke and Ashes”
Reminds me of the interminable summer of 1996
29 The Stone Roses – “Love Spreads”
I never cared much for this Roses song, but after seeing it live, it took on a different feeling
30 of Montreal – “Last Rites at the Jane Hotel” …These tears I cry for you must prove that I’m not the demon that I’m meant to be…
“Other people can be so disappointing/I need to spend more time alone”
31 A Taste of Honey – “Boogie Oogie Oogie”
For SD, as all danceable tunes are
32 Bam Spacey – “Avstånd och skog”
Malmö.
33 Heather Nova – “What a Feeling”
“Life is only half way in our hands/Years have passed while I was making plans/And I could never find the words/I always felt absurd, and always outside”
34 Kalbells – “Alonetime” …life can be so emotional/when you’re lonely…
Springtime. Here’s cheers to Annette, AB, SD, J, Anne
35 Fastbacks – “I Never Knew”
The old Seattle haunts and sounds; Oslo tunnels
36 Brandi Carlile – “Sugartooth”
Locals
37 Olden Yolk – “Cut to the Quick”
38 Low – “Let’s Stay Together”
Because yes, sometimes, people do stay together
39 Indigo Girls – “Kid Fears”
It’s like junior high school again, and somehow makes me think of Amie
40 Bedouine – “Summer Cold” …You say, ‘What have they done to you friend?’…
Armenian-American via Aleppo. “I’ve had enough of your guns and your ammunition”
41 Orange Juice – “Untitled Melody”
Glasgow. “You need me more or less, I need you more and more”
42 Belly – “Judas My Heart”
“Where I live/There’s a blanket of sighs and it covers the stars/In my heart, I’m as hungry as ever”
43 Madeline Kenney – “Signals”
A signal is what you use in your car, dude. Not a way of communicating with someone who clearly needs direct answers.”
44 Sevdaliza – “Amandine Insensible” …There’s a woman, she’s every fantasy/And no reality in one…
“How can I suffer without the pain?/Can we struggle without the shame?”
45 Dori Freeman – “Cold Waves” …There’s something bitter and it’s tyin’ up my tongue/My body’s restless but I’ve got nowhere to run…
“I’ve got a lover and he loves me very well/He took my broken heart and brought it back from hell/And with the slightest glance and movement he can tell/That I am lost and only he can lift the veil”
46 Deep Throat Choir – “In My Bed”
Amy Winehouse cover
47 Aidan Moffat, RM Hubbert, feat. Siobhan Wilson – “Cockcrow”
Scotland
48 Salad – “Warmth of the Hearth” …Here comes the hearth/We’re almost there baby/I’m on the path/Missing you already…
One of those bands that never quite hit (I loved them) but has reunited to tour recently
49 Julia Lucille – “Lie and Wait” …What do you think should we take it slow/Or go as fast as my body wants to go…
“Wrapped up in your loving arms imperfect as I am/You don’t tell me I’m beautiful, you tell me I’m a badass but/I hold back my love” … “What do you think was it too much too soon/I felt your mind just leaving when I walked into the room”. I like almost nothing more than I like Julia Lucille these days.
50 The Go-Betweens – “Dive For Your Memory”
“When I hear you saying/That we stood no chance/I’ll dive for your memory/We stood that chance”

april’s fool – random gum of april 2018 soundtrack

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It comes just slightly early – the April random gum soundtrack. I also think I will be sending out a few copies on CD (along with the previous few months’ music) in postal form because there are a handful of people who need more candy.

April’s fool
Random gum – April 2018

Entire playlist on Spotify. Listen!

Follow me and find all my playlists.

01 Negative Gemini – You Never Knew …now you’re pretending that i’m someone you never knew…
For all the beautiful negative Geminis
02 Gianna Lauren – Mistakes …Mistakes, they are my own…
Thank you to Esteban
03 ABC – All of My Heart …What’s it like to have loved and to lose that much?…
Thanks to J
04 Vorderhaus – Tanz Tanz Tanz oder ich bin verloren
Thanks to ML & Inken 
05 The Jack Moves – Doublin’ Down
06 Mark Gaetani – Rwanda
With Rwanda on my mind
07 The Aislers Set – Cocksure Whistler …Showers icy but the streets are chalk/Like the cocksure whistler’s on a winter walk…
08 Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy
For SD and to memories of Terra and her insistence that she would like to stick her tongue between Roland Gift’s front teeth
09 Katie Von Schleicher – Baby Don’t Go
10 Kelley Stoltz – Kim Chee Taco Man …Let your grace go wild…
“You’re not alone… You know the smile is real/It’s something you can feel/The stars with twisted teeth/Not so out of reach!” For Martina: “The Kim Chee Taco Man/The real Mexican”
11 Lushes – Low Hanging Fruit
For Annette and our dislike for low-hanging fruit preachers with deer-in-the-headlights eyes
12 Mugison – Patrick Swayze …there’s a ghost living here in the scrapyard…
For SD, the Swayze gym and the way Scottish people talk, even over strange Icelandic soundtracks
13 Jane Weaver – I Wish …I wish you were cool/I wish you were something…
MP. “So you really did nothing/So you really did nothing of concern?/In the distance I’m humming/Are the whispers nothing?”
14 Olivia Newton-John – Hopelessly Devoted to You
Sing-song singalongs with SD
15 Negative Gemini – Don’t Worry Bout the Fuck I’m Doing
“I don’t care about your shit face, the street goes down two ways, Don’t worry bout the way I’m going”
16 Belle and Sebastian – Poor Boy
True words. “Poor boy, I could never live up to your imagination/Poor boy, I was a crush that killed”
17 Emma Lee Toyoda – Nünü
18 Indeep – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
SD and locker-room recordings
19 Feu! Chatterton – L’oiseau
Merci, Laurent.
20 Karen Marks – Cold Café …on the esplanade/my coffee’s gone cold/I won’t forget the sounds/you left me…
Australia.
21 Robyn Hitchcock – Godnatt Oslo
22 Cat Power – Nude as the News
Memories of Seattle, Naomi and the Finn from Funland
23 Ösp Eldjárn – Ástarnetið
Thanks to and love for Eva
24 Maggie Björklund – The Road to Samarkand
Danmark
25 Veronika Boulytcheva, Natalia Ermilova – Зачем тебя я, милый мой, узнала …И сердце песню радости поет…
For J. This ‘relic’ from the college years pops into my head now and then. I had to dig through all my old CDs to find it.
26 Houndstooth – Bliss Boat …words are just a poor man’s pennies, dear…
Portlanders. I love the sound of this. “My aching heart/my wounded knee/you were the only air I breathe”
27 Kon Kan – I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)
Thinking back to being 13 and the people populating that period
28 Clara Luciani – Comme toi
“J’ai le coeur qu s’égare en attendant que toi/Qui me ressemble tant, qui ne me comprend pas”
29 The Sundays – God Made Me
“We’d love to be good but we’d rather be bad/But how was I supposed to know that?”
30 Scott Fagan – In My Head
31 Martha Ffion – We Disappear …guess we never really knew how good we were…
Irish in Glasgow 🙂
32 Velly Joonas – Kaes On Aeg
Estonia
33 YACHT – I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler
“Got my broken heart—/I got it sold right back to me—/By an algorithmic social entity!”
34 Widowspeak – Dead Love (So Still) …Even if it wasn’t as good/If it didn’t hurt so bad to remember…
35 The True Loves – The Dirty
Seattle, you know…
36 Martin Courtney – Airport Bar …I can pass the time/But I can’t undo the changes once they’re made…
“Life in that dream was just what it seemed/If I knew then what I know now I would not have stayed”
37 Cate Le Bon – Aside from Growing Old
“What’s the hubbub, I’m losing my mind/I’m running from people/What’s the measure of a passing time/I’m, I’m running from people/Deep seated inconsequence/Still running from people”
38 Fleetwood Mac – The Chain …And if you don’t love me now/You will never love me again…
For Erin
39 Vendredi sur Mer – L’amour avec toi
40 Laura Marling – Gurdjieff’s Daughter …Darkness can’t do you harm/Fear will hurt you…
“Man is made in such a way that he is never so much attached to anything as he is to his suffering.” –Gurdjieff
41 The History of Apple Pie – Keep Wondering
I keep wondering about some never-tasted mysterious apple pie
42 Jane Weaver – Slow Motion …I want to feel the life we loved in the sun,/Slow motion…
“Let’s get together/We keep changing/Sometimes everything’s amazing/Then the silence/Reminds us we are lost/Stop listening/To other people/Whose agenda/Doesn’t seem good/Then exception is the only/Thing we’ve got.”
43 Dan Deacon – Feel the Lightning …I try not to worry/But I always worry…
44 Belle and Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane …Being a rebel’s fine/But you go all the way/To being brutal…
Missing my Jane
45 Crybaby – When the Lights Go Out …There’s a beauty in this/A privilege in parting I know…
46 Meshell Ndegeocello – Waterfalls
A Meshell take on someone else’s song that somehow outshines the original. Love to Anne
47 Strawberry Runners – Dog Days
48 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Sorry is Gone …Leave me alone, but I want you with me every minute…
49 Damien Jurado, Richard Swift – Radioactivity
50 Veronika Boulytcheva, Natalia Ermilova – Вьюн над водой

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marching on – random gum of march 2018 soundtrack

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Here we go… music for March, which is the most wintry month of all this year. Check out the whole playlist on Spotify.

marching on
march 2018 – the good goo of random gum

01 Saint Etienne – “Nothing Can Stop Us”
*For poor deported, beloved Ben, who will nevertheless not be stopped; love for Tara, as this was one of our signature soundtrack songs when we used to spend time together
02 Negative Gemini – “You Weren’t There Anymore” ...you didn’t care at all…
*For at least those Gemini souls among us who are as negative as we’re accused of being
03 Vanishing Twin – “Choose Your Own Adventure”
04 Claudine Longet – “God Only Knows”
05 Neko Case – “Star Witness”
06 Los Zucara – “Lamento de Febrero”
*Uruguay. Love for J, Billy and Travis
07 Gwenno – “Tir Ha Mor”
*Wales
08 The Fall – “Mexico Wax Solvent”
*Love for Naomi – everything’s gonna be okay. (Must play LOUD)
09 Them Are Us Too – “The Problem with Redheads”
*Martina: Maybe Joel was right about the internet obsession with redheads. Haha. Sadly, one of the band members was among the dead in 2016 warehouse fire in Oakland, CA.
10 Dear Nora – “To Fall is Not to Fail”
“It’s better not to cry/Or to look me in the eye/When you leave and you let it go”
11 Yorkston/Thorne/Khan – “False True Piya”
12 Nicole Atkins – “Darkness Falls So Quiet”
13 Sexores – “Berlin”
*Despite being from Ecuador, this is one of two “Berlin”s on this mix. Sometimes I’m still missing it. Hard to believe it was already more than a year ago that I dashed off to Berlin for an afternoon just to see a movie, returning home the same night.
14 Julia Lucille – “Beneath the Spring” …Can a woman love/and not lose herself?…
*The countless onslaught of talented Julias continues. “We’ve had some fun/We’ve had some good loving/On to the next thing/My conscience forcibly brings/So many things that I could do/One of them being you/The slow slide into lying/And here come endless apologizing”
15 Beach House – “Chariot”
16 Pérez Prado – “Mambo No 5”
*A curious, out-of-place thing that reminds me of the misery of being 19
17 Siobhan Wilson – “Whatever Helps” …you’re stuck in the break of a wave/you’re haunted by a line from a song/you’re beaten by the wing of a prayer/try to move on…
*Glasgow. “Whatever helps to pass the time/when you’re on the other side/Switch it off, switch it off, whatever it is/That bleeds out all your best thoughts”
18 Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – “The Evening”
19 Tennis – “My Emotions Are Blinding”
*Love to Esteban & Ana
20 Laura Groves – “Friday” …You never gave a sign of pieced together phrases that Ive heard…
21 Beach Fossils – “This Year” ...This year I told myself it’d be a better one/Try not to fall back onto the knife…
22 The Raincoats – “Lola”
23 Ramona Lisa – “Arcadia Reprise”
24 Franska Trion – “Empty Space”
*Sverige, Sverige, Sverige
25 Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”
*Thinking more of Digit the gorilla, Mike, and Jesse Dude (another plastic gorilla, featured in the main image), but also Filbert/Ph’s fleeting flirtation with ‘fame’ via Clint Eastwood. The strange world of models and film extras…
26 Pink Mountaintops – “I (fuck) Mountains”
27 Charlotte Adigéry – “Senegal Seduction”
28 The Luxembourg Signal – “Laura Palmer”
29 The Fall – “Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes”
*When you need a dose of pumpkin soup to go with your fix of The Fall
30 Anika – “I Go to Sleep”
31 Jitka Zelenková – “Rád”
*Another Czech check-in, which means … love to Anne & to Martina
32 CCFX – “The One to Wait”
33 Katie von Schleicher – “Life’s a Lie”
34 Andrea Davidson – “Thank You Fuck You” …thank you for what we went through/and fuck you for something, too/I’m done with you…
35 Negative Gemini – “Ice Sluts”
*Lóa: Is an ‘ice slut’ a cross between a ice queen and a fuck mattress? 🙂
36 Pale Saints – “Half-Life Remembered” …It’s eating you away and some will never know it’s taste…
*O, emotional waves of late teen years. It’s like sitting in traffic-safety class in high school, the long drive to university, and more crying jags that I can count: “Biting off more than you can chew again/You’re just a child/And all you know is/That it’s sweetness brings you close to tears/Each time you can’t resist/And some will never know it’s taste”
37 Belle & Sebastian – “The Party Line”
*A spontaneous leap one day, deciding to go see B & S after many years of wanting to. And it was as lovely as I needed it to be. (And come on now, gotta love Glaswegian bands to bits.)
38 Gentle Hen – “I Wasn’t Looking for This”
*Thinking mostly about the use of “hen” as a Scottish term for a woman: “Gie us a kiss, hen“. “I wasn’t looking for this/I wasn’t ready for this/But it’s so convenient, I don’t have to do a thing/And I’ve always been lazy at best”
39 Meshell Ndegeocello – “Sometimes It Snows in April” …Springtime was always my favorite time of year/A time for lovers holding hands in the rain…
*Meshell doing Prince. For Anne, whom I must see in April.
40 Hanne Hukkelberg – “Berlin”
*Norway.
.. merci, Andreas
41 Madonna – “Crazy for You”
*Ended up here in some roundabout way after mentioning to S that Matthew Modine‘s daughter, Ruby, is in the US version of Shameless; he said he can only remember an 80s movies starring Modine that had this song in the soundtrack but couldn’t actually remember the movie (Vision Quest, of course, about wrestling… “God, you can count. See, I knew you had to be smart to be a wrestler.” –The Breakfast Club)
42 Kate Bush – “The Kick Inside”
*I fully, firmly believed I would never, ever appreciate Kate Bush. I have tried so many times over the years, and I just couldn’t hear it. Then suddenly in February, it was the right moment. More proof that we do change, and our tastes can in fact become more expansive rather than contractive.
43 10,000 Maniacs – “Trouble Me” …Why let your shoulders bend underneath this burden when my back is sturdy and strong?…
*And with the inclusion of this song, which I have never liked, we devolve (further) into the world of adult-contemporary, near-easy-listening. I remember my anger in 1989 when this song displaced The Cure from some top-five-of-the-week on some MTV show. Seems hilarious that I cared so much. I thought of this again recently when someone said, “I’ll trouble you later” and I said, “You could never trouble me.”
44 Crowded House – “She Goes On” …Pretty soon you’ll be able to remember her/lying in the garden singing/right where she’ll always be/the door is always open/this is the place that I loved her/and these are the friends that she had/long may the mountain ring/to the sound of her laughter/and she goes on and on…
*RIP Margaret, who died on 16 February 2018; “til we see her once again/in a world without end…”
45 The Sundays – “When I’m Thinking About You”
*Remembering the varied tastes of Mr Watts when we used to talk and he remembered weird folks like me
46 Pink Martini, The von Trapps – “Rwanda Nziza”
*Dreams of, thoughts on Rwanda
47 Cowboy Junkies – “Come Calling (Her Song)”
*One of those songs that, catching me at the right moment, makes me cry, remembering exactly where I was when I heard it, repeatedly, in one of the worst times of my life
48 Jane Weaver – “I Need a Connection”
*Opening act for Belle & Sebastian – when deciding whether to go spontaneously to see them, seeing that Weaver was opening, that tipped the balance and made me decide to go
49 Sarah Klang – “Milky Way”
*Gothenburg love
50 Shamir – “Lived and Died Alone” …I resign myself to the fact/that I will always love/never to be loved back…
*A beautiful ending, sad sentiments

The whole playlist. Or follow me on Spotify to see all my playlists.

Image (c) 2018 S Donaghy

February action

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February has historically been a month of inaction and hibernation for me – this one has been no exception. Last year I did jump on a plane to Berlin on a whim just to see a movie, and ended up in a mild debate with someone about the Holocaust while I was having lunch in a Jewish restaurant. Hmm. Seriously. It was a cold but bright day, and I was glad I had broken out of my routine to do something completely different, unexpected and spontaneous.

I had no intention of doing anything similar this year, but today I happened to see that Belle & Sebastian is in Oslo, so I quickly bought a ticket, got a train ticket and head over to Oslo in the afternoon. It’s not quite the distance of Berlin or somewhere further afield, but it’s still something (a band) I’ve wanted to see forever, especially as I have Glasgow so much on my mind these days. Bonus: Jane Weaver opens! Brilliant. Two birds, you know…

Any other day I might have ignored this urge to go, but I had a dream last night in which I kept wanting to do things but kept putting them off, and I started writing a poem in the dream, which I never had a chance to finish before someone would interrupt and drag me off somewhere:

If I light a fire, I will stay warm.
If I light a fire around myself, there will be no way back.

In dreams, never going where I want to go, but always with a fistful of melting popsicles.

Photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash

a love supreme – anti-valentine – random gum of february 2018 soundtrack

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a love supreme – anti-valentine
february 2018 – the good goo of random gum

01 The Supremes – Love is Like an Itching in My Heart
“Just an itching in my heart and I can’t scratch it”
02 Cate le Bon – Are You With Me Now?
03 Margo Price – Hands of Time
“Turn back the clock on the cruel hands of time”
04 Nana – Menino Carioca
05 Mary Lou Lord – I’m Ahead If I Can Quit While I’m Behind
06 BC Camplight – You Should’ve Gone to School
07 Sandie Shaw – (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
08 Sibylle Baier – Softly
Here’s to hidden women making their belated mark
09 Grizzly Bear – Losing All Sense
“Like a rogue wave you/Wash right over me/Losing all sense of what my body could feel/I was able to drift away from here/I have lost all control”
10 Gingerlys – Incandescent
11 BRONCHO – What
12 Sofia Freire – Canção da Bruxa
13 Dita von Teese, Sébastien Tellier – Bird of Prey
14 Marta Kubišová – Už se léto schovává
…Hang up the Czech habit. Love to Anne, to Martina, to Mr MI
15 Claudine Longet – Medley: Jealous Guy/Don’t Let Me Down
16 Belle & Sebastian – I’ll Be Your Pilot
All the Glaswegians
17 Nap Eyes – Delirium and Persecution Paranoia
18 Angel Olsen – How Many Disasters
19 The Supremes – Forever Came Today
20 The Barry Sisters – Vyoch Tyoch Tyoch
Can’t resist a Yiddish song, now can we?
21 Tommy Allen – Ghosts in the Walls
22 The Fall – There’s a Ghost in My House
RIP Mark E. Smith – who seems like the type to linger as a ghost in another dimension, tormenting people for all eternity from the beyond.
23 Jenny O. – Lazy Jane …I’m feeling blue/Cause I can’t have you…
“I’m never gonna be a cheerleader/I can’t do tricks/And I ain’t that sick”. For all those so far away now I will never get them back
24 Emma Gatrill – Odd Ones Out
“Don’t judge a book by its cover/Its façade is simple, simple to see/But by twenty pages in/You’ll find the story is not what it first seemed”
25 Over the Rhine – Latter Days
26 Al Masrieen – Men Awel Deqiqa
27 The Fall – Feeling Numb
One can only feel numb at the passing of Mark E. Smith (RIP), knowing the end probably could easily have come earlier. Still, the only good thing about his death is that I have learned about so many more people in my circles who are fans of The Fall, and I might never otherwise have known.
28 Hollie Cook – Desdemona
29 Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou – The Homeless Wanderer
Ethiopia
30 The Fall – Big New Prinz
I didn’t think much about how The Fall served as a soundtrack thread through most of my life until the recent passing of the cantankerous Mark E. Smith. All the way back to my adolescence, when my friend Terra and I would be sucked in by the aggressive sounds of “Big New Prinz” (and the rest of the songs from the same album), and not too long thereafter when my bricklayer pen pal Peter in the north of England would send me mixed cassettes that included loads of The Fall. And then how Naomi and I would share this connection and even see The Fall together many, many years ago. The Fall continued to help me forge surprising connections through the years.
31 Renata Zeiguer – Follow Me Down
32 Duke Garwood – Blue
33 France Gall – Laisse tomber les filles
34 Mattiel – Whites of Their Eyes
35 Yo La Tengo – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
36 Slow Club – In Waves
“You can’t tell me you’re not like this/Staring down the pages of the shit you’ve missed/Hoping you’ll find a way to change/Days spent waiting in my living grave”
37 Julia Lucille – Darkening
Such pretty sounds “As I’m darkening I must go alone”
38 Brigitte Fontaine – Une fois mais pas deux
39 Ofege – It’s Not Easy
Nigeria
40 Luwten – Pinball
“I am the pinball/I am the deer/I hear the shot/I disappear”
41 Mogwai – I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
“Jim Morrison… Van Morrison more like!” For S (naturally with an additional nod to Glasgow in Mogwai)
42 Wooden Wand – Mexican Coke
Martina! You know if it’s Mexican I will tag you!
43 The Fall – British People in Hot Weather
I had been an avid anglophile as a kid/adolescent, and I don’t really know what happened to make me so negative on the English. Still, The Fall has been something of a ‘negative soundtrack’ all along.
44 De Lux – When Your Life Feels Like a Loss
45 Ramona Lisa – Dominic
“Forgive me if I was too forward too fast”
46 The Fall – Powder Keg
And what else is the world today than a powder keg?
47 Sexores – Bluish Lovers
Ecuador
48 The Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together
…but will we?
49 The Psychedelic Furs – Sister Europe
“Words are all just useless sound” … for all my Furs friends
50 Tori Amos – Josephine
51 Cowboy Junkies – Cowboy Junkies Lament
Memories of college-era road trip with my Russian class, all long disappeared, all of us singing together in that fleeting moment of closeness. And the long, lost Townes van Zandt, who wrote this song for the Cowboy Junkies. “There’s a hole in heaven where some sin slips through/Close your eyes and dream real steady/Maybe just a little will spill on you”
52 Al Green – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
“I could never see tomorrow/I was never told about the sorrow”
53 The Cranberries – No Need to Argue
RIP Dolores O’Riordan. I remember listening to this song on repeat one year during college – it had such a sad, resigned finality to it that resonated with me (as I greeted endings, particularly of relationships with this kind of sad resignation. I have never been the type to really “freak out” and go crazy). This seemed like the perfect anthem for that kind of sad acceptance. Much as we must go forward with sad acceptance when people die too soon.

Follow me on Spotify to find all my random gum soundtrack playlists.

Expectation and the value of nothing

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“Expectations carry the day, causing us to ignore contradictory data. We speak in conversations in incomplete thoughts and sentences but we do not perceive it that way. Oral conversation is full of holes, but we don’t hear it that way. If we did, it would be quite disruptive. It is usually efficient to perceive in terms of our expectations. On the other hand, it disguises just how much we actively share what we perceive to fit our image of what is there to be perceived.” – Awakening Your Psychic Powers

I think (and write) a lot about the concept of expectation – but what exactly is it?

We all seem to have an understanding of what ‘expectation’ means. We expect something to happen, to receive something, and there is a level of trust implied in that expectation because, as I have written elsewhere, expectation is on one end of the spectrum and hope is on the other. On both ends, some action or object is ‘promised’ – it’s just that with expectation, we have a stronger sense or assumption, or trust, that we will experience or receive the promised thing. With hope, it’s more distant, just a possibility, and often much more unrealistic. Is that how everyone perceives these concepts? Is expectation always in the “likely, unless…” (sometimes with caveats) column while hope resides usually in the “unlikely” column?

Sometimes it’s practical: things go as expected… until they don’t. And you wonder why. Promise theory aims to get to the root of some of these issues. Even if it won’t solve everything, it is an interesting enough concept to delve into briefly (with an handy animated video, no less!):

“No matter how good the plans or how detailed the instructions our expectations about the world have limitations. Our information is incomplete.

One answer to the question is that the world has both remarkable predictability but also maddening uncertainty. But that’s not helpful.”

Can we immunize against uncertainty?

“What did you expect?”

From Calvino’s Invisible Cities: ““I speak and speak,” Marco says, “but the listener retains only the words he is expecting. The description of the world to which you lend a benevolent ear is one thing; the description that will go the rounds of the groups of stevedores and gondoliers on the street outside my house the day of my return is another; and yet another, that which I might dictate late in life, if I were taken prisoner by Genoese pirates and put in irons in the same cell with a writer of adventure stories. It is not the voice that commands the story: it is the ear.”” “At times I feel your voice is reaching me from far away, while I am prisoner of a gaudy and unlivable present, when all forms of human society have reached an extreme of their cycle and there is no imagining what new forms they may assume. And I hear, from your voice, the invisible reasons which make cities live, through which perhaps, once dead, they will come to life again.”

It’s funny when you’re immersed in something, especially with another person, and when something changes, that other person – almost like an amnesiac, or a cold operator who shuts everything down with emotionless precision, now outside the sphere of shared feeling or experience, forgets or misplaces what the connection once (possibly only in a limited or illusory way) offered to both people. Or when you are part of a project or a job or any activity. Expectation boils down to – to be successful – a give and take.

But failing that, in essence, we can always expect inconsistency, a lack of transparency and, most of all, contradictions, particularly where people and feeling are involved.

Is anyone better at juxtaposing the contradictions and our propensity for fooling ourselves than Pessoa? At our expectation and desire for the new but then being exhausted and annoyed by having to actually deal with the details and complications of the new?

“I reject real life for being a condemnation; I reject dreaming for being an easy way out. But my real life couldn’t be more banal and contemptible, and my dream life couldn’t be more constant and intense.”

“This is true in the whole gamut of love. In sexual love we seek our own pleasure via another body. In non-sexual love, we seek our own pleasure via our own idea. The masturbator may be abject, but in point of fact he’s the perfect logical expression of the lover. He’s the only one who doesn’t feign and doesn’t fool himself. The relations between one soul and another, expressed through such uncertain and variable things as shared words and proffered gestures, are strangely complex. The very act of meeting each other is a non-meeting. Two people say ‘I love you’ or mutually think it and feel it, and each has in mind a different idea, a different life, perhaps even a different colour or fragrance, in the abstract sum of impressions that constitute the soul’s activity.”

“The tedium of the forever new, the tedium of discovering – behind the specious differences we see in things and ideas – the unrelenting sameness of everything…” “…the stagnation of everything that lives just because it moves…”

“To love is to tire of being alone; it is therefore a cowardice, a betrayal of ourselves. (It’s exceedingly important that we not love).” Yes, even within ourselves. We long for love, sometimes to not be alone, but at the same time, feel as though that longing is a betrayal or that we have succumbed to a great weakness. (See the poem “Longing is the betrayal of oneself…” by Agneta Ara for a more poetic take…)

Expectation of superfluity

“this syndrome is a war that nearly every woman faces every day, a war within herself too, a belief in her superfluity, an invitation to silence…” –Men Explain Things to Me

We can also – almost always – expect mansplaining and sexism. It’s almost always a given, unintentional or overt. Rebecca Solnit has published two whole collections of essays on how half the world’s population expects the worst – expects to be silenced or talked over or had its concerns ignored, at best, or expects to be raped or killed, at worst.

In Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, she pretty much hits all the nails right on the head:

“Yes, people of both genders pop up at events to hold forth on irrelevant things and conspiracy theories, but the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.”

“…billions of women must be out there on this seven-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever.” “…And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.” “…Dude, if you’re reading this, you’re a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization. Feel the shame.” (Maybe I fell in love a little bit with this statement because I love starting statements with “dude” when I am at-the-end-of-my-rope frustrated and irritated.

“Think of how much more time and energy we would have to focus on other things that matter if we weren’t so busy surviving.”

Perhaps the remarkable thing about Solnit and her writing is that, despite describing the condition of – and expectation(s) – of, for and by women in society, she nevertheless explores the opposite end of the spectrum: hope. And why? Because, back to the principles of the aforementioned promise theory, of uncertainty:

“To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next, and that the unlikely and the unimaginable transpire quite regularly. And that the unofficial history of the world shows that dedicated individuals and popular movements can shape history and have, though how and when we might win and how long it takes is not predictable. Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or will decline from it; despair is a confident memory of the future, in Gonzalez’s resonant phrase. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that we don’t have that memory and that reality doesn’t necessarily match our plans; hope like creative ability can come from what the Romantic poet John Keats called Negative Capability.”

It is not blind hope, though. It, too, is informed by experience – the times we have ignored logic or signs to succumb to seeing only the reality we wanted – or expected – but if we were to marry the two, could we overcome the stumbling block of the ‘plan’ we can’t seem to abandon?:

“As I began writing this essay, I picked up a book on wilderness survival by Laurence Gonzalez and found in it this telling sentence: “The plan, a memory of the future, tries on reality to see if it fits.” His point is that when the two seem incompatible we often hang onto the plan, ignore the warnings reality offers us, and so plunge into trouble. Afraid of the darkness of the unknown, the spaces in which we see only dimly, we often choose the darkness of closed eyes, of obliviousness.”

“We are by nature optimists, if optimism means that we believe we see the world as it is. And under the influence of a plan, it’s easy to see what we want to see.”

The expected end

We expect death, but we hope it comes for us later, much later. But do we know what to expect within death? Is it, as I have asked before, just an expanse of nothingness forever?

What we do know, as William Empson writes in “Ignorance of Death“: death is “the trigger of the literary man’s biggest gun”. Too true – pondering its manifestations and meanings runs through everything. And yet, as Empson also wisely states, “Otherwise I feel very blank upon this topic,/And think that though important, and proper for anyone to bring up,/It is one that most people should be prepared to be blank upon.”

In Slaughterhouse Five it is: “At that moment, Billy’s high forehead is in the cross hairs of a high-powered laser gun. It is aimed at hm from the darkened press box. In the next moment, Billy Pilgrim is dead. So it goes.

So Billy experiences death for a while. It is simply violet light and a hum. There isn’t anybody else there. Not even Billy Pilgrim is there.

In Calvino’s Invisible Cities: “I thought: “Perhaps Adelma is the city where you arrive dying and where each finds again the people he has known. This means I, too, am dead.” And I also thought: “This means the beyond is not happy.””

In Pessoa: “I don’t mean the mystery of death, which I can’t begin to fathom, but the physical sensation of ceasing to live. Humanity is afraid of death, but indecisively. The normal man makes a good soldier in combat; the normal man, when sick or old, rarely looks with horror at the abyss of nothing, though he admits its nothingness. This is because he lacks imagination. And nothing is less worthy of a thinking man than to see death as a slumber. Why a slumber, if death doesn’t resemble sleep? Basic to sleep is the fact we wake up from it, as we presumably do not from death. If death resembles sleep, we should suppose that we wake up from it, but this is not what the normal man imagines; he imagines death as a slumber no one wakes up from, which means nothing. Death doesn’t resemble slumber, I said, since in slumber one is alive and sleeping, and I don’t know how death can resemble anything at all for us, since we have no experience of it, nor anything to compare it to.”

Also, even one of the new-age psychic books suggests that meditation is as close to near-death experience as we can get – makes me think of my questions on this very topic earlier.

When you can expect nothing: A gift horse, full of surprises

Maybe we don’t always have expectations – penis size, for example, is apparently a crapshoot. One can hope, of course, but pop culture will caution about expectation in either direction.

Vonnegut’s preternatural obsession with cocks and their sizes (appearing in both Slaughterhouse and in Breakfast of Champions) is another reflection on how our society prioritizes and values this all-important fact. Size matters, even when this particular size is confidential and invisible. He has just made it visible.

From Slaughterhouse: “Montana was naked, and so was Billy, of course. He had a tremendous wang, incidentally. You never know who’ll get one.”

No, in fact you just never know… until you know, that is. But you really cannot have any expectations in this department. In Breakfast, there are stats provided about multiple characters on these matters.

And then there is Lars von Trier, famously bizarre film director, who claimed that actor Willem Dafoe had a “confusingly large” member, which called for a “stunt cock” in Antichrist. (And this becomes slightly more confusing for me, reflecting on watching The Last Temptation of Christ and recently wrapping up my reading of Reza Aslan’s book Zealot about Jesus of Nazareth. By the way, even Aslan refers back to Dostoevsky when it comes to faith and religion – does anyone not fall back on Dostoevsky?! Hard to reconcile it all somehow.)

Oh, and then there are always the poor micropenises.

Halloween Random Gum soundtrack – Better late than never

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Everyone who knows me knows that I put together at least one “soundtrack” of the songs (i.e. “random gum that holds the year together” – here’s a link to all the previous soundtracks on Spotify) that popped up in one meaningful way or another during the year, put them on a CD and send them out the old-fashioned way via postal mail. Some years, I am organized and get the things in the mail early – this year, I got them done just in time to go out on American Thanksgiving. I had the track listing done ages ago but never had time to deal with the rest of the process – burning CDs, making the simple but nevertheless handmade (thus time-consuming) Halloween cards, printing out all the notes and track listings and folding it all up and shipping them. It also did not help that in the early days of my November vacation, a time I planned to devote to this card-production process, my internet connection went dead for several days, making the songs for the soundtrack out of reach (needed to download a good proportion of them). But finally – finally – the whole thing is finished.

scottish spring – troubled summer – falling down – getting up
random gum – 2014

The full playlist on Spotify (except for songs that don’t exist on Spotify).

Nine Inch Nails – “We’re in this Together” if the world should break in two/until the very end of me, until the very end of you
Had no idea when this year began how true the sentiment would be. “We will make it through somehow” “Even after everything/you’re the queen and I’m the king/nothing else means anything”. For S.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Hey Joe”
We didn’t know we needed a breathy Charlotte-sung, Beck-produced version of this song, but we did!

Angel Olsen – “High and Wild” you’re here, you’re here, but your spirit’s disappeared/off to some place that i don’t know, some human thing has squashed your soul
Another dark Berlin summer, emerging in the light. “You might as well be blind, cause you don’t see me anymore/And you, you can’t tell me that you love me, when I’m standing in your way”

Dum Dum Girls – “Take Care of My Baby”
For S, and getting through all the rough times and worries. Takes on unforeseen depth.

Le Prince Miiaou – “Hawaiian Tree”
For Aurélien, who long ago won the battle, in quality and number, of track-listing mentions.

Tennis – “It All Feels the Same”
“We could be good but we don’t live the way that we should/Constantly told we’re imperfect and cannot be good/Tired of waiting around for you to intervene/Tired of wishing that you even knew what I mean”. Pain and strain of repeated mistakes

Wild Flag – “Romance We love the sound, the sound is what found us/Sound is the blood between me and you
“Back when I had no story, nothing to form me/You got under my skin/You were my maker/my re-creator/My reason to live”

The Saints – “(I’m) Stranded”
For Stephen and those half-hour conversations (“wee chats”) that never lasted less than all night.

Sonic Youth – “Kool Thing” I just want you to know that we can still be friends
High school. “Are you gonna liberate us girls from male, white, corporate oppression?”

Angelique Kidjo – “Lay, Lady, Lay”
Angelique from Benin, one of those countries in Africa I learned about only incrementally

Crowded House – “Not the Girl You Think You Arethe bathroom mirror makes you look tall/but it’s all in your head
Always loved this song; takes on new meaning as life passes into new phases. “He won’t deceive you or tell you the truth/he’ll be no trouble. He won’t write you letters, full of excuses…”

Circuit Object – “Hollow Words”
For and by ML. Sometimes things just change, and we can’t do anything about it.

Tamaryn—“Violet’s in a Pool” the sound is moving in
Soundscape for late-night drives in western Sweden – evokes Bengtsfors, of all places!

Aimee Mann – “Amateur” I was hoping that you’d know better than that

Angel Olsen – “Stars” I wish I had the voice of everything
“To scream the feeling til there’s nothing left”. Such beauty…

Patti Smith – “Don’t Smoke in Bed”
“Take care of everything; I’m leaving my wedding ring, don’t look for me – I’ll get ahead. Remember, darling – don’t smoke in bed”. Elegiac words for the sad endings of sad entanglements

Damien Jurado – “Amateur Night” It’s me who made you/It’s me who will take you
“I am not an evil man/I just have a habit I can’t kick/It starts with an urge and ends with this/Hang up the phone, I ain’t finished yet”. Another song whose meaning deepens w/experience

The Smiths – “I Won’t Share You”
Toasting the end of my rural man harem and W, the Smiths-quoting filth peddler

Tadpoles – “Sunrise Ocean Bender”
This makes me feel like I am in the 1990s again.

Glasser – “Shape”
“And I look out longingly/over the beach./There’s an ocean making life/beyond my reach,/and the vastness is/too much for me to stand.”

Warpaint – “Love is to Die” I found a way/To look towards this day/But it all hooked up/This could only go one way/I’m not alive, I’m not alive without you

The Fall – “Life Just Bounces” life just bounces so don’t you get worried at all
An unusually warm and bright February day. Watched a BBC show about the mad, inimitable Mark E. Smith. Blasting The Fall on high all the rest of the live long day. For Naomi

Sydney Wayser – “Geographer”
It’s just beautiful

INXS – “Don’t Change” I found a love I had lost/It was gone for too long/Hear no evil in all directions/Execution of bitterness/Message received loud and clear
Beautiful and bittersweet nostalgia – tangentially thinking of Michael Hutchence, his late wife Paula and Paula’s late daughter Peaches… will tragedy ever stop dogging that family?

Rolling Stones – “Miss You”
For obligatory naked pre-Mogambo balcony dancing

Sonic Youth – “Youth Against Fascism” I believe Anita Hill/that judge will rot in hell
I still believe Anita Hill; pop culture references – some timeless, some a flash in the pan, some culture/country specific, made immortal in song.

Cat’s Eyes – “Over You” I’m over you/Soon I’ll be rid of you and your ways/And I’ll forget all those/wasted days/And I wonder what took me so long/to finally let you know that I’ve begun

Lia Ices – “Thousand Eyes” We are a starry sky/Gazing down with a thousand eyes/And we know that we go on
Multilayered beauty. “Flash your flood, set your fire/You were born to overflow/And we know that we go on”

Buried Beds – “Stars”
For S. You may come upon the blackest stone/What passage lies beyond is still unknown/And sleep won’t come, cause you never close your eyes/Like stars above us we are on fire”

Hefner – “Love Inside the Stud Farm” Girl, you’re a teaser/what on earth did I just do to deserve a girl like you?
“You don’t know what you’ve done to me, with that voice, with those eyes, with that smile, and that smell…” All those auspicious beginnings when things are perfect, before the unraveling of reality

Miriam Makeba – “Liwa Wechi – Congolese Lament
Much love to Zaki

Neneh Cherry featuring Robyn – “Out of the Black” I fear what’s gone before will come right back and slap me

XVIII Eyes – “I’ll Keep You”

Otis Redding – “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”
“Nobody knows what I feel inside/all I know – I walked away and cried…”

The Boxer Rebellion – “Both Sides are Even” You don’t need a reason/For I know that what I’ve done is wrong/No one there to warn you/About the way that our moment’s gone
“These are my suspicions/And I’ll never know how this was a lost cause/And both sides are even/They are even and alone/Yeah, it’s the same/Right or wrong”

Angel Olsen – “Unfucktheworld” Here’s to thinking that it all meant so much more/I kept my mouth shut & opened up the door
“I wanted nothing but for this to be the end/For this to never be a tied and empty hand/If all the trouble in my heart would only mend/I lost my dream I lost my reason all again”

The Doors – “Love Her Madly”
For S. and poetic comparisons.

Robyn Hitchcock – “Everything About YouI love everything about you/I love your crooked smile/The way I try to please you/And have done for a while

Sonic Youth – “Wish Fulfillment”

George Jones – “The Grand Tour”
For S and the riding lawn mower future. This type of twangy country tune makes me laugh – the “woe is me/she left me” whining, but I don’t think for one minute that “she” left without cause.

The Hat, feat. Father John Misty, S.I. Istwa – “The Angry River”
“The awful cost of all we lost/As we looked the other way/We’ve paid the price of this cruel device/Till we’ve nothing left to pay”

Angel Olsen – “Hi-Five” But I’m giving you my heart, my heart/Are you giving me your heart?

The Kinks – “You Really Got Me”
Meant for playing at insanely loud volume

Angel Haze – “New York” calls from overseas like a motherfucking crusade
For Jill – finally leading the New York life. And for Annette, the vigilante! “I run New York”

Pulp – “Lipgloss”
For M, my lipgloss and girly-stuff provider extraordinaire

Nirvana – “Love Buzz” Would you believe me when I tell you/That you’re the queen of my heart?
20 years since Kurt Cobain died – hits harder now, in middle age, than when it happened

Sondre Lerche – “Bad Law” When crimes are passionate/can love be separate?

Travis – “All I Want to Do is Rock”

Wild Flag – “Something Came Over Me”
“Yeah, you were always headed down the wrong path/But you’ll be back, you’ll be back around/Summer’s creeping up slowly/We’re gonna let the good times, let the good times roll”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “B.S.A.” it’s gonna be a long cold winter/but I feel so warm when I’m in her arms
“She goes off like a shotgun/she’s got me begging on my knees/she’s like a kiss from Jesus/make me forget my disease”. An S song

Merry Clayton – “Gimme Shelter”
Proves that this should have been a woman vocalist all along

Belle & Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown”
For Jill. For Inga and days in the poopbarn when Boring Guy did not want to “blow my cover”.

Trentemøller – “Still on Fire”
Cool sound + opening to TV show Halt and Catch Fire

Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians – “Queen Elvis” People get what they deserve,/Time is round and space is curved./Honey, have you got the nerve,/To be Queen Elvis?

Sam Phillips – “I Can’t Stop Crying” In dream I scream but you can’t hear me calling you
Floods of tears when circumstances tear something or someone from your hands, your life

Angel Olsen – “Forgiven/Forgotten” all is forgiven/all right, you are forgiven
“If there’s one thing I fear/it’s knowing you’re around, so close but not here”

The Platters – “Twilight Time”
Memories of the old pre-internet days when wild goose chases ensued looking for songs we could not quite place. What on earth did we do without Google?

Townes Van Zandt – “Lungs”
The late, great Townes.

Roxy Music – “More than This”

The Handsome Family – “Far From Any Road”
“And rise w/ me forever across the silent sand/the stars will be your eyes & the wind will be my hands”

Barbara Lewis – “Baby, I’m Yours”
For S.

Aaron Neville with Linda Ronstadt – “Don’t Know Much”
My joke song with S, who does not know where his face is going. “And that may be all I need to know”

Neil Diamond – “Love on the Rocks”Love on the rocks/ain’t no surprise/just pour me a drink/and I’ll tell you some lies
Top-floor flat in Berlin; drunken torture and misery – hatching an escape plan. Traumatic memories of high school teacher and her laminated Neil Diamond posters

The Go-Betweens – “Quiet Heart” And what did I say that made you cry?/Our dream won’t die/Doesn’t matter how far you come/You’ve always got further to go

A Fine Frenzy – “Almost Lover” shoulda known you’d bring me heartache/almost lovers always do

Angel Olsen – “Windows” won’t you open a window sometime?/what’s so wrong with the light?

Sinéad O’Connor – “Just Like U Said It Would B” when I lay down my head/at the end of my day/nothing would please me better/than I find that you’re there

Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris – “Love Hurts”
For S. and the tragic loss of the Gram Parsons shirt. At least there’s still “Yeah!” to wear.

Tomten – “Wednesday’s Children

Johnny Cash – “Hurt” And you could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt
I don’t think I can listen to this again without crying; Berlin summer disaster and near endings

Moby with Damien Jurado – “Almost Home”