The Métier of Blossoming
Fully occupied with growing—that’s
the amaryllis. Growing especially
at night: it would take
only a bit more patience than I’ve got
to sit keeping watch with it till daylight;
the naked eye could register every hour’s
increase in height. Like a child against a barn door,
proudly topping each year’s achievement,
goes each green stem, smooth, matte,
traces of reddish purple at the base, and almost
imperceptible vertical ridges
running the length of them:
Two robust stems from each bulb,
sometimes with sturdy leaves for company,
elegant sweeps of blade with rounded points.
Aloft, the gravid buds, shiny with fullness.
One morning—and so soon!—the first flower
has opened when you wake. Or you catch it poised
in a single, brief
moment of hesitation.
Next day, another,
shy at first like a foal,
even a third, a fourth,
carried triumphantly at the summit
of those strong columns, and each
a Juno, calm in brilliance,
a maiden giantess in modest splendor.
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!
–Denise LevertovI move among the anklesof forest Elders, tread
their moist rugs of moss,
duff of their soft brown carpets.
Far above, their arms are held
open wide to each other, or waving
what they know, what
perplexities and wisdoms they exchange,
unknown to me as were the thoughtsof grownups when in infancy I wandered
into a roofed clearing amidst
human feet and legs and the massivecarved legs of the table,
the minds of people, the minds of trees
equally remote, my attention thenfilled with sensations, my attention now
caught by leaf and bark at eye level
and by thoughts of my own, but sometimes
drawn to upgazing-up and up: to wonder
about what rises so far above me into the light.
The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.
The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.
A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily
moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.
Each minute the last minute.
O Taste and See
The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see
the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,
grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
I hesitate to cite Levertov any longer, as her work seems to punctuate (oddly) so many things in life that have gone awry or simply that evoke feelings, some very old and some very fresh, that I don’t need to give rise to. I wonder why it’s Levertov’s work that defines so many moments. She was never a favorite, never particularly important in my poetry discoveries. And I don’t even find her works necessarily the most powerful. But they take a bite in those precise moments, much as certain songs form the soundtrack of pivotal life moments – whether or not we like those songs. It cannot be helped.
The Ache of Marriage
The ache of marriage:
thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth
We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each
It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside it
two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.
I remember being taught about slippery, misleading false cognates when I first started learning a second language: a word means something in one language, but the same word means something else in another. I return to this idea of false cognates again and again, but more in terms of life and how related things are (or are not). I wrote about this – the things that pop up repeatedly, seemingly coincidentally, but without any connection. But somehow even randomness can be wrapped together to make something thematic. (“As Laplace has pointed out, to discover is to bring together two ideas that were previously unlinked.” –Advice for a Young Investigator, Santiago Ramón y Cajal.)
If an interdisciplinary-style university education taught me anything, it’s that interconnectedness can be woven from very little. Sometimes the connections are more subtle but reasonable – we, even without thinking, curate the things we are open to by the choices we make. I may read one book, then watch a talk show, reflect on a book I read some time ago, have a conversation that all strike the same chords. It’s unconscious but guided by the things that keep feeding and forming us.
Case in point: A woman acquaintance who never shuts up about her feminist bona fides and is fairly judgmental about approaches to feminism (because, she stubbornly asserts, women can and should do anything!) that do not align with her views on How Feminism Is Done and What It Means to Be a Liberated Woman. She also does her job based on her ‘instinct’, despite the fact that what she is doing should be informed by readily available data. This leads to expensive mistakes and a lack of results. Part of her ‘instinct’ (which may well be correct in this case) is that the company she works for must have all its videos and voiceovers done in men’s voices. She is certain that this will resonate with the core audience (mostly developers) because no woman will sound authoritative and credible. That might be true, but isn’t that also a part of feminism? Working to change what is perceived as credible (so that women are not automatically discounted as “not credible”)?
I’ve seen this happen in many companies, even in my own job a couple of times; I happened to see this article about how most companies’ video/marketing ads are centered on and make use of men to create “the impression that marketers aim their technology products and services at adult, white men and that these images serve to reinforce the association between masculinity and technology.”
“According to the researchers, the emotionality and passivity of women in most of the advertisements analyzed perpetuates the idea that women are not in control of the creation and usage of technology.”
Sure, there’s certainly something to be said for what’s realistic, what’s expedient versus lofty goals of changing minds one tech video at a time. But it’s also a miserable failure of follow-through to never challenge stuff like this, particularly if you’re a vocal mouthpiece of this need for equality. Demand that women in tech be taken seriously, but don’t bother to inject women into your outward-facing communications efforts?
False face, fucked filter
When I write that we ‘curate’ the reality around us, it’s very much the same concept as people who end up reading only news or ideas that confirm their bias or worldview. Sometimes it works for us (opening us up and guiding us to new and interesting places) but often works against us (letting the walls close in, making a truly fucked-up filter through which to see (or not see) the world and its realities). I’d guess my own ‘curation’ (a word/concept that is so overused that I hate using it here) is strange and eclectic because I want to ‘taste and see’ (Levertov) everything. Even the stuff that hurts, even the stuff I vehemently oppose.
But the point here is that even the most casual path taken generates its own trails of interconnectivity. Against this backdrop of ‘false/when-convenient feminism’, I had just read Roxane Gay’s Hunger, which in and of itself is not a ‘feminist’ book (she has written a much-read book on the subject, though, called Bad Feminist) but deals with issues germane to the subject (identity and ‘sub-identities’, e.g. being black, being the child of immigrants, being female, being queer, being a victim of sexual assault, being fat, etc.). It’s not a vast leap to go from Gay’s book to Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen, which explores various aspects of behavior that have been off-limits for or criticized in women. Petersen examines ways in which a handful of famous women exemplify these “too much” traits, getting at the heart of the fear that comes with stepping outside the lines and being (or being perceived as) the “unruly women” Petersen cites in her title. Petersen begins by discussing “acceptable” female celebrities who cultivate a tightly controlled brand (interestingly, I read this on the heels of Naomi Klein’s No Logo, which was written at a time when ‘personal branding’ was in its infancy) as a counterpoint to the women who do and say what they want and in doing so become points of “fascination and disgust”, e.g. Serena Williams, Lena Dunham, Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Nicky Minaj, among others). It’s a lot more nuanced than that. I suggest you read the book.
“This Is How Much America Hates Women. Not all women, of course. … In other words, unruly women—the type who incite Trump’s ire, and whom millions of voters have decided they can degrade and dismiss, simply because they question, interrogate, or otherwise challenge the status quo.” –Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
(As a side note, while most of her observations on Madonna and aging were astute and valid, it felt a bit like Petersen, while not eviscerating Madonna, really took her to task in a way that felt out of place given the subject matter and the more thoughtful and laudatory tone granted to every other person in the book. It was intelligent “breakdown takedown” and analysis, but felt like the writer reserved some extra ire to heap on Madonna, well-deserved or not. Also, Madonna: French women, and some other Europeans, have aging with quiet sex appeal almost down to a science. No one needs a regressive Madonna trying to create something like that when it exists in nature already.)
What happens if you do tell your truth or story as a woman? What if you don’t play your role? In these unruly women we see both the good and the bad. But the central theme in the end plays out like you, as a woman, are always damned if you try, but equally damned if you don’t. And you are double damned if you try too hard, try too late, try at the wrong time, and try while being any number of other ‘wrong’ things according to society’s skewed standards. Especially in America.
I happened to revisit Frankie Boyle’s proposal: America Hates Women from American Autopsy at the same time as I was reading Petersen’s book. As long as misogyny runs rampant in men and women both, and even in the double standards of purported feminists, I’d agree: you can’t win as a woman. You’re hated on some deep, dark and often unacknowledged level. And these days, it’s open season – so it’s not deep, dark or unacknowledged. The Twitter feed of the current president of the United States is a good place to find a whole lot of that darkness raging right out in the open.
This poem in its simplicity gets me every time. It cuts right to that vaguely poignant but pity-filled realization that dawns when some variation of the following occurs. Invariably, some character from the long-distant past, about whom one was whipped into a frenzied lather so very many years ago but whom one has almost entirely forgotten in life’s ensuing whirlwind, reappears. In the ‘old days’, this character had been aloof, cool, compartmentalizing. I belonged only to one sliver of his life, for example. And I would agonize. This character never really cared, or at least never showed it then.
This character appears again long after being rinsed away, eroded from conscious memory. And suddenly in this twilight between the last moments of clinging to some semblance of youth and the outer edges of middle age, this character remembers me in alarming detail, which I can only regard with some curiosity and dispassionate distance. I’ve never believed in living in the past or revisiting it, although the way this poem is written cleverly ignites mild nostalgia without making its narrator succumb to it.
A Woman Meets an Old Lover
‘He with whom I ran hand in hand
kicking the leathery leaves down Oak Hill Path
thirty years ago
appeared before me with anxious face, pale,
almost unrecognized, hesitant,
He whom I cannot remember hearing laugh out loud
but see in mind’s eye smiling, self-approving,
wept on my shoulder.
He who seemed always
to take and not give, who took me
so long to forget,
remembered everything I had so long forgotten.’
Erica Jong’s heroine asks in Fear of Flying: “Would most women get married if they knew what it meant?” She follows up by stating that perhaps in middle age, marriages would work better. It’s hard to say, of course, but seems reasonable enough to presume. But then maybe it’s more likely that a second or third marriage would work best, regardless of how old the participants are. The book’s protagonist is already stymied in her second marriage and seeking comfort elsewhere. Much ado has been made about “starter marriages” and the likelihood of future marriages working because you learn from the mistakes of the first. I don’t know what to make of this. It too seems plausible – but not applicable to me.
If this is true, what of middle-aged people who never married and got no “practice” other than in a collection of short or long-term, ultimately dead-end relationships? I cannot say because I am in this demographic: middle-aged and never married. I have had a couple of long relationships that never held any future promise and a lifetime, otherwise, of flings and experiments to which I would scarcely be able to apply a name or formal distinction. In between there have been shorter and longer periods of just being on my own, which have always been the happiest and most content times of all.
Confronting the ‘more’
While it’s true that being alone and – by extension – independent has given me a lot of joy, there are moments, often more frequent than in the past, that I imagine my calm life could be enhanced by the presence of someone else. I’ve already written before about not wanting to invite in ‘the wrong element’. After all, as Doris Lessing wrote in The Golden Notebook: “What’s terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do”. It’s a delicate balance: you may finally confront the fact that you want and need to love and be loved, but to do so, is second-rate enough? Do you fool yourself into thinking that second-rate will do it for you? Can your view become so blurred that you think the ‘wrong element’ could be right? I’ve concluded that it’s most important to recognize the need for love – and go from there.
The ark of the ache of it
Many times I have cited Denise Levertov’s “Ache of Marriage” – and given a lot of thought to the ache one must feel within a marriage – but what about the ache you have without it? It’s something you feel without ever having had the missing part in the first place. It’s not constant but comes in waves. It can look so miserable when you look at it from the outside. Mundane, like a constant sacrifice of one’s own identity and preferences. What is it that softens us … age? The right element? The sunset? The need for warmth? Previous experience (which can also harden us)? The desire for daily soup? (Soup would really do it for me.)
A recent experience, brief enough to be like the blink of an eye, has contributed one significant thing to my life. It opened a long-closed part of me and made me realize it made no sense to close it again. I had so many times before let previous experience influence me, to close me off, to shut emotional responses down. And now… maybe it was this recent experience, maybe my age, maybe all the previous “practice”, maybe the starker-than-ever realization that there are only so many sunrises and sunsets ahead, maybe a combination of everything that convinced me to stay calm, and stay open?
running in the fields,
forgetting the names of flowers.
maybe they are false, made up.
but better the liar you know,
better still if the liar is you.
Thinking about the way people latch onto things, traits, sometimes extremes, to forge an identity – an identifiable identity.
I’ve known a few people who behave as though an overly enthusiastic interest in sex and uncontrollable sex drive confers an identity. I have often thought about how withering this is, when all actions and the entire personality is dominated by the sex drive and the drive for sex. This might seem scorching – glowing with promise and excitement – in a person who is young, experimental, but at some point it starts to be sad and macabre. It is not that older people should not be sexual (I’ve written plenty about this – there’s no age limit). But the clinging to youth that often comes with this personality trait can be humiliating for the person who clings to it too long, and eventually the “sex bomb” explodes in their face.
From Desperate Characters: “’Don’t. She doesn’t know what’s going on. I don’t tell her much. She’s like a demented Sherlock Holmes tracking down the ultimate clue. Sex is at the heart of everything, so morbid and so banal. I haven’t got anyone to talk to.’ ‘You’re talking to me.’”
When a person is abnormally obsessed with something – sure that other people are deceiving them, stealing from them, using them, cheating on them or whatever – it is often because s/he is guilty of those very same things. That is, if a person is a liar, a cheat, a thief, his paranoia that others are perpetrating those very things on him is heightened. I wonder about this. That person can also justify all of it. He may not have directly lied – he may just have misled or omitted facts. He may not think he stole when he feels he has just re-appropriated resources. Either way, he’s fooling himself and others – and has crafted his whole identity, whether he knows it or not, around this obsession.
As Paula Fox’s Desperate Characters highlighted, sometimes the ache of marriage is so slight, you barely notice it day-in and day-out … until you look at it either under a microscope or from a big-picture view, asking, “What have I done with my life?” And yet, many of us are conditioned to define ourselves and our identity through those relationships, however stale they become. Who would we be outside them?
“‘You don’t know what’s going on,’ he said at last. ‘You are out of the world, tangled in personal life. You won’t survive this…what’s happening now. People like you…stubborn and stupid and drearily enslaved by introspection while the foundation of their privilege is being blasted out from under them.’ He looked calm. He had gotten even.” -from Desperate Characters
“I’m sending you this photograph of me in my new car
but I hate to say I miss you cause you don’t need me any more
you’ve politely say, “I miss you,” but we know you don’t mean that any more”
-Foxygen, “No Destruction”
And then there are hipsters who define their whole being in ways that annoy everyone else around them (other than other hipsters). They are probably very similar to the peripheral characters Fox writes about in her book, despite pre-dating the existence of the hipster (what would these annoying characters have been called then when the book was written in 1970)?
“‘Look how late the light stays now!’ ‘The days are getting longer. I hope the locals don’t start up with their goddamn bongos.’” -from Desperate Characters
I never intended for this springtime playlist to grow to such massive proportions. It’s just that I was exposed to so much music – so much sound – so much joy – so much pain in the last few months, and this is the result. My experience and memory filtered into an auditory blueprint. Effortlessly. It’s long – so long – but I did not feel like censoring or making choices because I do that all the rest of the time in my life. You don’t have to listen or like this compilation of 110 bloody songs (although on the burned discs I’ve mailed by post, it looks like maybe only 109 of them actually worked – sorry)… but I am sharing all of it anyway because it’s just what I do.
I never imagine that very much happens or changes in my life, but then when I have an opportunity to reflect, I realize that major things have happened almost weekly over the course of the last six months…. I won’t go into the minutiae of that. I will only say that, as ever, nothing is settled. I am spending a lot of time thinking, reading and writing… and it’s all I feel like doing. It makes for a bit of an insular life that yields very little to tell/share (other than ‘insights’ or takeaways from the things I read and listen to…).
The postal versions (to those for whom I have postal addresses) are going out in the mail this week.
To move on you must move through… Love to all of you.
Random Gum: Moving on Again – How to live with a phantom: Spring into action 2017
(Almost) complete playlist on Spotify.
01. Ed Harcourt – Born in the 70s
Thanks to MP & chats on generational issues. “But can you count on me?/I might let you down/In a world that is so sensational/No you can count on me/I’m living for the now/Up against the older generation’s wall”
02. The Shacks – This Strange Effect …and I like the way you kiss me, don’t know if I should/but this feeling is love and I know that’s why I feel good…
03. The Associates – Love Hangover …I don’t need no cure…
Thanks to William
04. Psychic Twin – Hopeless …And I remain hopelessly alone in the heart/Like I’ve always been from the start…
05. Bubblegum Lemonade – As Dead as Disco …I’m San Francisco; you are New York…
Thanks to some random Glaswegian Twitter guy
06. Girl Ray – Trouble …I don’t want to win anymore, Cause honey, winning it just make me feel sore…
Trouble always finds me. Slight 70s sound; good lead-in tone and theme wise to “The Lonely Man”
07. The Incredible Hulk TV theme song – The Lonely Man
08. Howard Jones – Things Can Only Get Better
Planned to include this (thinking 2017 could only be better after 2016 – wrong so far!) and then realized dear Bethany also put it on a recent mix she sent – and even gave the mix this title.
09. Bill Ryder-Jones – You Can’t Hide a Light with the Dark …The way you fall apart/I still adore it…
“The light’s on in your backroom/Are you with him/Are you with him/The lights off and it’s darkness/You’re so heartless”
10. Maud Lübeck – Mon amourenboîte
Thanks to Laurent
11. Palehound – Cinnamon …Mellow, cringing ugly fellows/Mixing water into gin/And chasing it with cinnamon…
12. Minor Victories – Breaking My Light …Will these shadows lift/They’ve been breaking my light…
Thanks and love to MP, who once or twice helped lift some shadows
13. Rabbit is Rich – Kick Your Ass
More thanks to the incomparable William, king of Christmas cards and cool music mixes
14. Andrew Bird – Tin Foil …What is moving will be still/What has gathered will disperse…
“Evil Knievel shot up from dead grass/And I loved him better each time that he crashed”
15. Maria Andersson – The Girl Who Loved Islands
Probably just because I am nothing if not an island girl at heart
16. Bill Pritchard – Mother Tongue …They lived in separate countries, as we watched their future unfurl…
“What’s that you mean?/I don’t think I caught your tone/Say that again in your mother tongue”
17. Max Shrager – Thoughts of You …to hold onto my thoughts of you…
18. The War on Drugs – Red Eyes
Always a driving song… don’t drive as much as I used to but still need songs for the road
19. Boy & Bear – Southern Sun …You see I’m not gonna wait till the end of me/’Cause I got the burning fire in bed of my soul…
20. Crystal Stilts – The Dazzled …It can’t be saved. It’s already lost, it thrives on my resistance/We are bound and marching to an ever static distance…
21. Vetiver – Can’t You Tell …Look ahead where our future hides/But the world waits wide-eyed…
22. Trailer Trash Tracys – You Wish You Were Red …Oh my darling, you’re a dying red star…
23. Steve Mason – The Letter …could it be that you don’t know me any more?…
Was supposed to see this dude twice within a week (Gothenburg and Oslo). Canceled. It was not how I had imagined anyway, so just as well that none of it happened.
24. Cass McCombs – There Can Be Only One
“Like a master’s baptism of fire/I know you have your ways/And two masters at once, no man can acquire/You set my heart ablaze”
25. Japanese Breakfast – The Woman that Loves You …You should try to do as little harm as you can to the woman that loves you…
26. Neko Case, kd lang, Laura Veirs – Down I-5 …Driving down I-5/I don’t ever want to die/Cause I’d no more get to see/All this beauty passing by me…
How many fruitless trips down I-5 have I taken? “You know you’re living if you’ve sinned”
27. Thelma – If You Let It …lines are crossed of will and fear/it is ringing loud and clear…
“Feel the limits you put/on yourself and those around you/you deserve more, you deserve more”. Here’s to seizing more.
28. Chelsea Wolfe – Appalachia …like black diamonds, ash and light/like the mines and anthracite…
29. Timber Timbre – Velvet Gloves & Spit
30. Totally Mild – Christa …It doesn’t matter what you do/It only matters who you do it with…
31. Childish Gambino – Me and Your Mama
For Naomi, who did not realize Donald Glover was Childish Gambino.
32. Houndstooth – Canary Island …it’s never been quite right/always taking things to dark inside/a restless mind is hard please/most of the time…
“Oh to be the dust that covers/everything”
33. Hefner – Half a Life …Life without my sweetheart is only half a life…
34. Stereolab – Ping Pong
Socialism in song… hitting the musical ball back and forth with MP
35. Beachbuggy – Japanese Radio Ad
More Japanese noise and more love to MP
36. AdriAnne Lenker – Jonathan …listen up, I’m a wreck I’m a mess, this is not the effect/Of a loss or a vex, this is you…
“Let me be the honest home where you can rest/Your tired mind”
37. Tinariwen – Cler Achel
A very Al Jazeera documentary-loving, Henry-Rollins-style travels kind of music
38. Chelsea Wolfe – Flatlands …I want flatlands/will you go there with me…
“When it’s said in the dark and you know it’s always there/when it’s dead in our heart but your mind is unafraid/when it’s said in the dark and you know it’s never coming back/when it’s there in your heart in your mind you set it free”
39. Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker – I Never Learned French
Where have all my French connections gone?
40. Cats on Fire – It’s Clear Your Former Lover
Funnish Finns. “Now, it’s possible he may have been the one who loved you the most/I don’t want to compete and I don’t like the smell of his ghost”
41. The Horrors – Still Life (Connan Mockasin remix) …Slow down/give it time…
Preferred this remix to the original; sitting in a shopping mall parking lot waiting for a friend, listening and absorbing the message: “Don’t hurry, give it time. Things are the way they have to be.”
42. Baxter Dury – Other Men’s Girls
43.Morgan Delt – Some Sunsick Day …After the blast levels our town/We can relax and watch it come down…
“After we start over again/We’ll start to feel safe in our skin/Maybe we’ll be wrinkled and grey/Or maybe we’ll get new plastic faces/We’ll finally find what we need”
44. Vashti Bunyan – Love Song
Thanks to, love for MP
45. Space Needle – Before I Lose My Style …I tried to be it all/when I left you behind…
46. Galaxie 500 – Snowstorm
Thoughts of MP and an almost-snowless winter
47. Itasca – No Consequence
With love for Annette – plenty of consequences.
48. The Limiñanas – Down Underground
49. Jenny Hval – Conceptual Romance …I want to give up but I can tell/My heartbreak is too sentimental for you…
This song is everything. ”A sexual holding pattern/Stuck in erotic self-oscillation/This landmine of a heart/The only one I’ve ever had/I’ve ever had”; “So I lose my gaze to keep you/Creating a curve for the eyes/A rejected body/And losing it is constant, but such a lonely place/What can I say?/I don’t know who I am, but/I’m working on it…”
50. Psychic Ills – Mind Daze …I’m doing fine/when I’m out of my mind…
51. Suuns – 2020
52. Minor Victories – Give Up the Ghost …When you act like I’m nothing to you/Make me feel like I’ve been replaced/I could tear you apart/Leave a brand-new scar…
53. Amber Arcades – Constant’s Dream …It’s not different we’re just getting used to it/But we’ve always known what to expect…
“Our bodies are full and nobody is trying/It’s not like we don’t want to, we’re just not desiring”
54. Still Parade – Walk in the Park
Poetry, Wanstead Park and Denise Levertov’s ark-of-the-ache-of-it connection: “Wanstead drew me over and over into its basic poetry”. For MP
55. Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker – Something Familiar
56. Twin Limb – Don’t Even Think
57. Nice as Fuck – Door …All the shit that we talk is a smokescreen/It’s a waste of your time/A waste of my being…
58. Family Friends – Look the Other Way …I think there’s some things you forgot from when we used to talk a lot…
59. Chastity Belt – Seattle Party …Your life is so raw/You’ve been through so much…
60. Pixie Geldof – Wild Things Grow
Not anything I ever anticipated including despite lifelong weird obsession with Bob Geldof; thanks to Travis, this finds its way here
61. Lee Hazlewood – Hey Cowboy
Love to Naomi
62. Matt Duncan – 1000 Boys …This record’s skipping on a sigh… (but not an Eliot sigh…)
“That I’m smitten with my worries and my doubts/No lovelorn prince would ever dare to sing about”
63. Shintaro Sakamoto – In a Phantom Mood
64. Allo Darlin’ – Kiss Your Lips …Then I kissed your lips and for a moment it was heavenly/Because you found me, baby/Baby I found you…
65. Weyes Blood – Seven Words …I want you mostly in the morning/when my soul is weak from dreaming…
66. Julia Jacklin – Pool Party …Said you’re sorry you were drinking through the day then/Only stopped to let your lungs take the hit/Said I won’t blame you now but you lost my love somehow/Then you jumped right in…
I sort of misjudged this song when I first heard it – kinda fitting when I really listened
67. The Innocence Mission – Bright as Yellow …And I do not want to be a rose/I do not wish to be pale pink/But flower scarlet, flower gold/And have no thorns to distance me…
68. I Break Horses – Winter Beats …When your heart in winter beats/Don’t let that cold blood freeze/Cause frozen love will bleed…
Represent the home team (Sweden!) and other people’s Spotify playlists
69. Kim Jung Mi – Haenim
I read about “Korean folk” music, which is like 60s folk rock and nothing to do with traditional Korean music. And you can hear that when you listen to this interesting, if odd, song.
70. Vivian Girls – Where Do You Run To …It’s alright just leave the light on, I will never ask you why/Once you’ve gone remains the question baby/Where do you go? Where do you go? Why do you leave me all alone?…
71. Sam Patch – St. Sebastian
Another one of those whose sound I like…
72. Amber Arcades – Right Now …But we could go right now/We could have another life…
“I made my mind up long ago/The road is long and slow/So many things to leave behind/But everyone can live their lie/I’m not even sure that I don’t like mine”
73. “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” – from Orphee et Eurydice, Gluck, Donald Runnicles & Orchestra of San Francisco; Dawn Upshaw, Alison Hagley, Jennifer Larmore
74. Wasuremono – Cuddling
As the dear Scots say, to mean ‘cuddling’, “coorie in”
75. Spain – Nobody Has to Know …Girl we’ve fallen so in love/It was just a year ago/And you’ve kept it to yourself…
76. Blake Mills – Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me …I was wrong to turn honesty against you/And sure, some of them could use a good talk…
Seems like a timely kind of song, with thoughts of trying to keep secrets about people “fucking up”
77. King Creosote – And the Racket They Made …And your words chased round and round in my head/Last night…
To the peaceful days that started the year and the endless discography of King Creosote, which droned on all morning and throughout our entire absence when wandering through the cold countryside. “And the tide shrinks back into its womb/And I hope the empty shells and bones of your stories/Will litter and clutter the shores/And I hope that when I find them/I’ll remember how they danced/And the racket they made/When they were alive”
78. William Onyeabor – Ride on Baby …You don’t know why you love me so much, baby…
RIP William, king of Nigerian funk… reminds me of a weird time in my professional career working with insufferable hipsters who spent much of their lives in downward facing dog pose (since they had to be posing somehow…)
79. Glen Campbell – Guess I’m Dumb …The way I act don’t seem like me/I’m not on top like I used to be…
Acknowledging when you’re not on your A-game…
80. Nick Garrie – Can I Stay With You
Calm in the eye of the storm; love for MP
81. Cigarettes After Sex – K. …I remember when I first noticed that you liked me back/We were sitting down in a restaurant waiting for the check/We had made love earlier that day with no strings attached/But I could tell that something had changed how you looked at me then…
What a beautiful song… its combination of beauty and hope kinda makes me feel melancholy.
82. Bubblegum Lemonade – This is the New Normal
Hoping that the world we live in right now is not the new normal…
83. Tenniscoats – Hikoki
Thinking of back when my mom expanded her vocabulary to include the Japanese neko and hikooki
84. Spinning Coin – Albany …When the weather comes/It comes in measures/When the pain comes/Instead of pleasure…
“I don’t know I thought I knew you but I was wrong/I was impressed by your love for complexity”
85. Wolf Alice – Bros …Are you wild like me/Raised by wolves and other beasts…
86. The Duke Spirit – Serenade …slow you remind me/how to be silent/and your story leaves me wanting/and the way I feel is changing…
87. Desperate Journalist – Distance …oh your heart/a hurricane…
How much I want to create distance. “I’ve lost you” – yes, you have.
88. Surface to Air Missive – Time Being …I don’t know where you are now/but it’s someone else for all I know…
The guilt of unanswered/unreciprocated missives. Bigger than surface
89. Billy Bragg – Upfield
“I’ve got a socialism of the heart.” Nothing describes me better at this stage in life
90. Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!
Thanks to MP and his mad, made-up music ‘game’/DJing a Friday night from afar, as ever
91. Slowdive – Star Roving
To made-up middle-of-night games pitting songs against each other and admissions of never cottoning to Slowdive back in the old days
92. Minor Victories – Scattered Ashes (Song for Richard)
93. Cat’s Eyes – Drag …Oh you’ve been dragging me down…
94. Grouper – Headache …why does love keep letting me down?…
95. Antonio Carlos & Jocafi – Você Abusou
Something from the Cerys on 6 BBC Sunday radio, listened at someone’s suggestion
96. Dirty Projectors – Up in Hudson
Love and thanks to Andreas. The sound here is not mine, but the lyrics… dear, dear heavens
97. Tasseomancy – Dead Can Dance & Neil Young …fade into folk song…
Enjoyed getting lost in the sound…
98. Valerie June – Astral Plane
Thanks to Travis
99. Princess Chelsea – The Cigarette Duet
Thanks to dear Gabe and of course love for New Zealand
100. Super Furry Animals – Hermann Loves Pauline
Gute Nacht, mein Liebling, Roscoe
101. The Proper Ornaments – Memories …memories will go/slowly float away/but I can see your face/from here…
102. The Saxophones – New Tradition
“But I haven’t shown you my best part; it’s too hard, and I’m quick to judge”
103. Sibelius – In the Stream of Life (Rautavaara)
104. Robyn Hitchcock – Goodnight Oslo
105. Spell – Stone is Very Very Cold …my hand may tremble now and then/but my heart can never break again…
106. Julie Byrne – Follow My Voice …To me, this city’s hell/But I know you call it home/I was made for the green/Made to be alone…
“I’ve been called heartbreaker/For doing justice to my own/I, too, been a fault-finder/But that life is broke/How I love you/You’re the one my heart chose/And so I will be here”
107. Ultra Vivid Scene with Kim Deal – Special One
Watching the video on a hotel room bed in Oslo, nearing the end of the five-day bubble, memories of high school for me, an intro to something new for him
108. Sheryl Crow – The Book …I didn’t know by giving my hand/that I would be written down, sliced around, passed down, among strangers’ hands…
A mainstream thing you won’t know, a lot like Friends, but still has its place in pop culture. And this song has always struck me – writers as “voyeur, the worst kind of thief” of such personal details; always be on the defensive. “I read your book/and I find it strange/that I know that girl, I know her world/a little too well”
109. Steve Mason – Hardly Go Through …I’ve never cried over someone I hardly know/But I can feel it/Can you feel it?…
“In my head I hear a voice, they say/You made the wrong choice/And you don’t need me, you’ll never need me”
110. Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate …Electric faces seem to merge/Hidden voices mock your words…
The musical definition of my earliest childhood, still resonating as I burnish in middle age. Isn’t that what memory, intellect, age and living do? Haha. One can hope. “Ooh baby I hear you spend night time/Wrapped like candy in a blue, blue neon glow”