Cover up – Random gum of July 2018 soundtrack

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Cover up – Got just enough to cover you – Random gum – July 2018
www.comraderadmila.com / Follow me on Spotify

01 Alberteen – “We Are the Mods
Big thanks as usual to Ade – never in the same place. One of my favorites from Alberteen
02 U.S. Girls – “Rage of Plastics” …there’s no telling how long you’ll be paying…
Relatable sadness and all the nods to plastic. “There are scores of us born in the silent spring/Whose wombs won’t take, won’t bear anything”
03 Alice Skye – “Friends with Feelings” …I hope that tomorrow/won’t be like today, anyway…
04 Depeche Mode – “Cover Me” …Way up here with the Northern Lights/beyond you and me/I dreamt of us in another life/one we never reached…
Memories of some entirely other life. “Better take cover…”
05 Flesh for Lulu – “Postcards from Paradise” …And I fell under your spell/And I lay where I fell…
Weird memories of junior high school and that awkward, fragile friendship with Terra; had no idea until right now that the lead singer died about three years ago
06 Ultra Vivid Scene – “The Whore of God”…But a kiss on the lips is far too much for anyone…
This is like a taste of sophomore year in high school, the weekends of Leighanne, Gary and Terra
07 Bruce Springsteen – “Cover Me” …Promise me baby you won’t let them find us/Hold me in your arms, let’s let our love blind us…
I have no real love, but plenty of respect, for Springsteen, but the ‘cover’ theme must be covered, right?
08 Huri Sapan – “Karanfil Ocak Ocak”
A Turkish delight, naturally. I love how unnatural this sounds directly after Springsteen
09 Julia Jacklin – “Cold Caller” …Will I be a mother or will I always be a child?…
Oh, Julia among Julias. One of my favorites lately. “And some cold caller decides I’m not Ready to change Oh what if my body is but my mind remains the same?”
10 Trashcan Sinatras – “Obscurity Knocks” …Owner of this corner and not much more…
For SD rocking the Maryhill Tesco – but happily not shirtless
11 Love and Rockets – “Ball of Confusion” …Eve of destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors/Solid gold in demand, population out of hand, suicide/Too many bills, everyone movin’ to the hills/People all over the world are dying in the war…
Perfect for these tragic, confusing, bombastic times
12 TV on the Radio – “Love Stained”
“In the middle of the night, when fear comes calling/Singin’ it all dies, awfully scared, alone/I’m looking into your eyes to feel your call/Pretty thing that catches me so strong when I fall”
13 The Shacks – “Blue & Grey”
“What did you really mean to say?/I’m tired of waiting because/All we have is blue and grey”
14 Brandi Carlile – “The Joke”
“Let ’em laugh while they can/Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind/I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends/And the joke’s on them”
15 The Fernweh – “The Liar”
Liverpool
16 Coco Morier – “No Pressure” …Let’s mess around…
17 AURORA – “Life on Mars”
Because I don’t know that we’ll ever know how to live without Bowie, though he got out just in time
18 Peter Perrett – “How the West Was Won” …If I ever get really depressed/I’ll download Tor, buy a suicide vest/Leave a dirty bomb at a Wall Street address/Gatecrash a Rothschild party and leave it in a mess…
19 Savoy Motel – “Sorry People”
Groovy Nashville
20 Belle & Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown” …Thus starts the lonely walking/There’s always too much talking/I should have stayed home…
Glasgow… don’t blow my thicker-than-ever cover. Love to all my Dear Green Place folk & to Inga
21 Terry Bush, United Forces – “Maybe Tomorrow” (radio edit remix) …So if you want to join me for a while/Just grab your hat, come travel light, that’s hobo style…
For every person of a certain age in the UK who knows this theme song from a dog-led Canadian tv show, The Littlest Hobo, that Americans never had the dubious treat of seeing
22 Grupo Mogambo, Carlos “Chacho” Ramos – “Dime”
Because… MOGAMBO!!
23 Amber Coffman – “Kindness”
24 Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – “Monkeys on Juice” …laughing at such pointlessness…
25 Tom Waits – “Gin Soaked Boy” …Well, I’m on your tail/I sussed your M.O. …
26 Conspiracy of Owls – “A Silver Song” …You open your heart/And I drift right through…
“We’re not above it all/And we’re in love again”
27 Drapht, Indoor Fins – “The Come Down Was Real”
28 The Julie Ruin – “Just My Kind” …Don’t you know I really like how/You know my mind/But even more to the point is the fact/You’re just my kind…
29 The Moonlandingz – “The Strangle of Anna”
30 Rival Consoles – ”Ghosting”
I’m not too good at ghosting
31 Samara Lubelski – ”Soft Focus”
32 Värttinä – ”Kylä vuotti uutta kuuta”
A wee folk taste of Finland
33 Modern Studies – “Disco” …I used to be a totally different kind of person/and the difference it made…
Scotland Scotland Scotland
34 Triathalon – “3” …help me get myself in the groove…
35 Xmal Deutschland – “Feuerwerk (31.Dez)”
The old days in Hamburg
36 Klaus Johann Grobe – “Geschichten aus erster Hand”
The big Z-city in CH
37 Sonic Youth – “Bull in the Heather”
38 Coda Conduct – “Love for Me” …my love for you, boy, comes after my love for me…
Australian lady hip hop
39 Gwenno – “Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki”
Wales
40 Chapterhouse – “Pearl”
Driving through a painfully hot late spring day, suddenly feeling all the aimless pangs of teenage pain and insecurity stabbing me from the inside, again and again. Ugly. Uglier. Ugliest. Time.
41 Hovvdy – “Thru” …Cover for yourself all the time…
42 Au Revoir Simone – “A Violent Yet Flammable World”
Wondering whatever happened to Aurélien, to whom I owe the Au Revoir Simone debt. Twin Peaks reboot but makes me think of those days in 2008-9, the bittersweet of Paris, misery of Oslo, homesickness for Reykjavik
43 Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Spellbound” …We are entranced…
44 Phantastic Ferniture – “Fuckin’ ‘n’ Rollin’”
It’s no wonder I fell in love with this almost immediately – only after I was hooked did I wake up to the fact that this is another Aussie darling, Julia Jacklin, vehicle…
45 Grover Washington, Jr – “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”
46 Goldfrapp, Dave Gahan – “Ocean” …People collector/I’m on the move/For you…
47 Kings of Convenience – “Know-How”
“Just a little bit of danger/When intriguingly/Our little secret/Trust say trust me/Cause no one will ever know/That this was happening”
48 Class Actress – “Journal of Ardency” …You think I’m living it, living it, living it, living it up/In the spotlight/It’s a lie, lie…
“This game of cruelty/Hardly becomes me…/…’Cause everybody knows/Everybody sees/That this is the thing you do to me”
49 Air, Gordon Tracks – “Playground Love” …Yet my hands are shaking/I feel my body remains/Time’s no matter, I’m on fire/On the playground, love…
50 Emmit Fenn, Yuna – “Modern Flame” (acoustic) …Don’t tell me this doesn’t feel right/’Cause I’m thinking ‘bout it every night…

“Never again is what you swore the time before”

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“What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end” –The Things They CarriedTim O’Brien

She waited for him to come to his senses, emerge from the sleep they had been enmeshed in for months, possibly even years. But no, the deep voice of stability and the grip of a steady hand continued to greet her each day. Perhaps because they had each already gone grey before finding each other and understood the calculus of what each had given up versus what each had gained by being together, the radical madness of young, unbridled romance was missing. But no, the electric tingling and orgasmic singeing of the fingertips, fire spreading rapidly to the internal organs, betrayed not just a lust one associates with youth but also an abiding and unretractable love, warmth and a mutual, complicit almost-ownership the likes of which neither had felt before.

Still, the emotional safety brought about by his reassuring adultness never quite allowed for the erasure of this nagging voice, whispering repeatedly before crying out, “Any minute now, he will come to his senses,” even as he spent long afternoons tending their garden, year after year, putting seeds into the ground that would not come to fruition for many more years. He was firmly rooted, encircled by and entwined in a whole world of nourishment. Watching him working, she wondered whether she had ever seen something so basic and beautiful.

But her nagging inner voice was accompanied by nagging ears, ears opened to listening to the sounds echoing from the past. Phantoms sometimes returned to haunt after many years, singing songs of regret, lament, actions not taken and whole imagined lifetimes not lived: “But sometimes it would strike me suddenly, watching you walk across the room: ‘fucking hell she is beautiful’. Those lips, those eyes, the high cheekbones. It was arresting and would take my breath away. But I couldn’t act. I couldn’t show you those parts of myself.” Hollow words spoken as a long overdue attempt to display some sensitivity that never existed. Empty attempts to make what had happened seem more substantial, as though he could have taken all that time back and redone it, even though in reality, he never would have wanted to in reality. Idealizing vague memories decoupled from what actually was.

Are these old admissions from a derelict entanglement even worth listening to? No, never again – again. No, the garden grows and grows with nowhere for weeds to hide.

Memoirs & McKagan

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In between the more grueling books I’m juggling, I make room spontaneously for “spot choices” – something that I am reminded of in the spur of the moment, something I would not necessarily seek out eagerly (Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America, anyone?) but which might be interesting in some way. This is, as I have mentioned before, how I come to read most contemporary autobiographical memoirs. They share some background information about admired (or not) musicians or celebrities, but don’t usually set my brain ablaze. Sure, from the thoughtful writing of Carrie Brownstein and Kim Gordon, both seemingly effortlessly cool public figures, I glimpsed that seemingly universal truth that no matter how cool, aloof, nonchalant and in control we seem on the surface, there’s an insecure, wants-to-be-liked person underneath.

Even the memoirs of “regular” people (which, of course, all of these books underline: we all are regular people), such as the pleasant-enough Shrill by Lindy West and the charmingly self-deprecating All Over the Place by effusively expressive Geraldine DeRuiter (and I am dead serious here: if you don’t already read Geraldine’s Everywhereist blog, do. Also follow her on Twitter; one of my favorite Twitter feeds), forge this kind of ‘we’re all in the soup’ of humanity by sharing their everyday experiences. (Or maybe now that I look at this as a pattern, I read all of these because there is the Seattle connection to all of them but Kim Gordon.)

That said, these kinds of books are rarely ever deeply challenging, will be fast and easy to read. They may make us smile, laugh, nod in agreement and approval or even get angry or feel sympathy for the writer. These are very human books. It was in this way, in one of these palate cleansing frames of mind, that I came to read Duff McKagan’s How to Be a Man.

I don’t know how Duff McKagan ever ended up being someone on my radar, bookwise or otherwise. Somehow since junior high school in the Seattle area, he, despite my not being the Guns ‘n’ Roses ‘type’ (whatever that is), stuck out (probably being a local boy and all helped that visibility). Later, I think I was impressed by the fact that he went back to college after the heyday of GnR and worked on finding his sobriety and ways to maintain it. At another point in my life, I would not have picked up this book; in fact even if I had, I don’t think I would have taken anything away from it. But this time, having had the experiences of the last decade, I approached it differently.

But this is what I will say about it: Despite the fact that it struck me as slightly disorganized (some parts more organized than others), slightly random (although some parts were considerably slicker than others, which made me think the editing was choppy), neither of these things made the book bad. It in fact inspired the feeling and sense of sitting and listening to the guy reel off stories and opinions about his life and his experiences. Maybe that was what he was going for – the relatable (well, in tone, perhaps, not in all the activities – although let’s be clear, as Duff most certainly is – all Seattleites DO live with the ticking-clock on summer, and the damn deck/lawn/painting/housework can only be done in rain-soaked Seattle in that limited window) and conversational.

The book was entertaining and perfectly served the need I had at this exact moment:

*It flowed quickly, even if, as I stated, the editing didn’t make the content flow all the time.

*I liked the random lists of stuff, particularly the diverse variety of recommended albums and books. I would probably add more must-hear albums/artists (today I am overly influenced by the songwriting genius of Neil Finn/Crowded House and the longevity and wild creativity of Robyn Hitchcock). I would also add many books, but who wouldn’t? There are too many books in the world to be able to do justice to a must-read list, which McKagan himself acknowledges, describing his propensity for populating his personal library both in digital and paper formats:

“But a bookstore is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in what’s new. You can browse, and you can ask around, something you can’t do as well in the cocoon of e-commerce. It can be the littlest hint or clue that sends people looking for a book and thrusts their life briefly in new directions. It can be gossip you hear in line for an espresso or a movie you see on espionage. The direction of your reading can very well influence your life for a while.” –How to Be a Man

Clearly he gets what most passionate readers get:

“This is every reader’s catch-22: the more you read, the more you realize you haven’t read; the more you yearn to read more, the more you understand that you have, in fact, read nothing. There is no way to finish, and perhaps that shouldn’t be the goal. The novelist Umberto Eco famously kept what the writer Nassim Taleb called an “anti-library,” a vast collection of books he had not read, believing that one’s personal trove should contain as much of what you don’t know as possible.” –My Life with Bob, Pamela Paul

*On addiction and sobriety, he didn’t have anything new to say that I haven’t heard or read from recovering addicts or specialists in this field. But it’s nevertheless key to see some of the resounding themes: resentment and regret; again, some of this same lack of self-esteem and assurance that the other memoirists listed above have expressed, e.g. learning to like and trust oneself; that, as cliche as it sounds, it’s a one-day-at-a-time process. And sometimes the things that pull you through are unexpected and maybe even the smallest things that then go on to have ripple effects. In his case it was his ‘latching onto’ Jim Rome’s radio show, and when he appeared on the show as a guest, this prompted other listeners to take steps to regain control of their own lives. This too could sound cliche, but the kinship of addicts, and the power of these small sparks to inspire, is the same kind of things I have seen in trying to understand and connect with recovering alcoholics in my own life:

“This life is crazy. It’s the little things that can be absolute game changers.” –How to Be a Man

*Seahawks, Seattle sports and the constant, indefatigable cheering for the (hometown) underdog. Need I say more?

*Seattle. Yes, Seattle. (Do I sound all homesick? I swear I’m not! I left so long ago for a reason!) That place that suddenly became visible in the 1990s, from which its veil was slightly lifted with the mania that surrounded Twin Peaks during its first go-around (even though this was not technically Seattle, you’d still have to go to Seattle to get to the real-world equivalent of Twin Peaks). It is hard to believe now that Seattle was ever this unheard-of place that McKagan describes.

But true story: in junior high, I had a pen pal in California (this was 1989) who phoned me once and asked not only what time it was in Seattle (says more about his ignorance of time zones and geography than Seattle’s invisibility). He seemed surprised to learn that I had ever heard of Depeche Mode and even that I had a phone. If I recall, it was the same year that Time magazine covered the insular nature of Washington state and its ire at “rich Californians” showing up to scoop up all the land. Hmm. (I did go back to see if I could find that issue of Time, and it was, as a side note, interesting to see the cover stories – Donald Trump on the cover in Jan 1989, taunting readers that we would all be “green with envy” about his wealth – or a headline: “The New USSR?” – or Kevin Costner, just releasing Field of Dreams, or Pete Rose, just being tossed for life from baseball. Oh, hilariously, there was a cover featuring the Rolling Stones, including a headline about “aging rockers”… and we thought they were aged then?)

Back to the point. Seattle was on no one’s radar. Not in any appreciable way, at least. Not until Nirvana came along:

“I used to brag to anyone who would listen that these guys were from “my town” and that soon the rest of the world would realize that people didn’t live in tepees in Seattle!” –How to Be a Man

While McKagan framed the singular Seattle “way” within the lens of sports (and a bit in music), it is on the whole accurate about the city’s attitude and evolution.

It is a place of some stoicism, insularity and a bit of an outsider’s “fuck ’em” attitude. Claire Dederer posits in her own sort of memoir, Love & Trouble:

“Seattle is not a big city for crying. Seattle, in fact, is famously emotionally stoppered. There are many theories as to why this is the case; some say it’s because of our dominant genetic and cultural heritages: Norwegian and Japanese. Whatever the reason, Seattle is a place where you are not supposed to emote. You are supposed to endure. In Seattle, where rain and traffic are two snakes twining, choking the body of the city, forbearance is an art. We don’t cry, we just put on more Gore-Tex or maybe use the driving time of our commute to listen to a self-improvement book on tape. Though “driving” is a strong word for what happens when you get into a car in Seattle. And yet suddenly there were these crying hot spots.”

“When you visit other cities, get asked about Seattle. The people you meet want to move there. No one used to move to Seattle except aeronautical engineers and, like, rabid fishing enthusiasts. No one used to know where Seattle even was. They thought maybe it was in Oregon.”

And this obscurity from which Seattle was lifted has made it a too-hot, too-desirable place, in which most mere mortals cannot afford to live.

So… bottom line, I don’t know if I would recommend that anyone read McKagan’s book. I will, though, be giving a copy to one person who will be able to relate, and I think in that way it will help him. And perhaps that is the most one can hope for: reaching one person, especially when they need to hear your particular message, one day at a time.

shedding layers part four

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My next discard is a boring, ugly dress. I will chuck it at the weekend. It has come to symbolize a lot of things, including moments of tremendous self-hate. It has come to remind me of many times I would rather forget. I never liked it in the first place but almost as if woven into the fabric, it’s just a sad rag clinging to who I don’t want to be. It’s going.

Baked Goods in B2B: White chocolate macadamia cookies

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The white chocolate macadamia nut cookie is quintessentially North American in nature. It might exist elsewhere, but this slightly more elegant offshoot of the traditional chocolate chip cookie sounds profoundly confusing and unusual to non-North American ears (although to the taste buds, it is not so dubious a proposition). Despite my long history dabbling in baking, and my pursuit of baking every cookie variety from A to Z, last night was my first attempt to make the white chocolate macadamia cookie that enjoys such popularity in America. I could blame the fact that I live abroad and finding the white chocolate chips that work so well in these cookies is somewhat difficult. I could blame the fact that macadamia nuts are slightly more expensive than other nuts. In fact, it just never crossed my mind.

Given that I have no history with this cookie, I have no tale to tell. (“No New Tale to Tell” – Love and Rockets… there’s a song for every occasion. Today while talking to someone about how technology is so pervasive it is almost Big Brother in its reach, we discussed longing for basic, simple things as a counterbalance. I have always been a traditionalist in this sense… always sending personal, postal cards/letters. It’s human, but it is rare. An actual human touch is (almost) becoming obsolete. But I go on mailing cards and baking cookies—as human as it gets, really. And trying to reconnect with simpler times in life, I found music I have not listened to since I was about 14. Depeche Mode, The Primitives… strange.)

A few times in recent months when I mentioned my baking habits to American friends and acquaintances, they in turn would mention how much they’d love a good white chocolate macadamia cookie. Suddenly I thought I might as well try it. Happily the cookies turned out well and were very popular in the office.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA COOKIES
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (coarsely chopped) macadamia nuts
2 cups white chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) and set aside.

Beat together the melted butter and both sugars. Beat in the egg, then beat in the egg yolk, then beat in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredient mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture until just moistened (do not overstir). Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips by hand.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and press down to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges look golden brown. Remove from oven, leave on pans for about ten minutes. Remove to cool on a rack.