I don’t eat most of the things I bake – in fact, none of them. But I ate one of these because I cut one in half for the sake of the picture and thought, “Eh, why not?” But then, I really like pumpkin. These were not, as far as I know, the most popular of the cookies I brought to the office for Halloween this year… but I think if a person gave them a chance, they’d be pleased.
Pumpkin-stuffed snickerdoodles Cookie dough
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon (+ colored sugar) to roll
2 cups (10 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 cup pumpkin
1 ½ cup finely ground gingersnaps
1 ½ cup digestive biscuits
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 (8 ounces/about 225 grams) package cream cheese
First, make filling: melt white chocolate in microwave; stir, heat in 15s intervals, stir well each time, do not overheat. Smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix pumpkin, crumbs, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cream cheese. Add the white chocolate and mix – place in the fridge to chill and firm. Roll pumpkin filling mix into balls and place on wax paper – cover and freeze until firm.
Cookie dough: Beat butter, oil, sugars, eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add dry ingredients to the butter mixtures in 3-4 additions. Form a ball and chill dough at least one hour.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together, and preheat oven to 180C. Bake for 12-15 m – scoop out balls of dough – press filling ball in and cover over with another bit of dough until completely covered – roll to seal. Roll in cinnamon and sugar mix and bake.
Halloween, that time of ghoulish frights and tricks or treats. I don’t even like Halloween, but it seems to be the holiday that I celebrate. Or at least acknowledge. I send cards/CDs/candy and do a bit of baking. Or least I have but after this year will give much of it up. It has no meaning now.
I will post later with all the recipes and reflections on this, but here are some images of all the baked stuff I made this weekend – my last big bake, I do believe. I set it all up in the office and feel very… free.
Getting the big Halloween bake all set up in the office
So, even though we are a full month out from Halloween, I have been extraordinarily organized and have finished putting together my Halloween CD mix for this year quite early. The mailings have begun going out in the post.
And, as I have written in the note that accompanies the CD, the time has come at last – this will be the last of my random gum CD mixes. At least of the physical, postal-mail variety. As technology has rendered the CD a useless would-be Frisbee, I am looking for another solution for sharing music (other than Spotify playlists at least). I may still send cards/greetings by post because I’m still old-fashioned like that. But continuing this effort is fruitless. It has been a roller coaster of randomness these 13 years that I’ve been making and sending these mixes. And to reflect an end as random as this gum has always been, I’ve chosen fittingly strange and random music.
Although I have not expressed these sentiments in the letter I included with the CD, I do feel like I am shedding a skin – or some kind of layer(s) – again – as though I am preparing for something else. I don’t know what it is. But I have largely left behind my TV addiction, my baking addiction, and now this (and most of my postal letter writing in general). I don’t know why these things no longer interest me the way they used to, except to say that my disconnection from feeling and indeed, often, from actually living, has dissipated. The end of the embargo against living, I suppose, means that new things and new people occupy my time and, more importantly, my heart.
01 Aliza Gabbai – “Mimigdal Shalom”
Israeli pop from the 1960s. Too cute 02 Rola Saad – “Min Bein Alkoul”
Because Lebanon 03 DIANA – “What You Get”…Echo comes back to your lonely room/Said my head, my heart, I can’t take it anymore…
Stuck so much in 2017 on the concept of place – real, imagined; in the world or in the mind 04 Savoy Motel – “Souvenir Shop Rock”
Nashville is for dancing 05 Tindersticks – “My Sister”…Here I am, this is me/I am yours and everything about me,/everything you see,/If only you look hard enough/I never could…
Had this spun up but was unsure til I talked to a Norwegian in the mountains who was listening to Tindersticks. “Our life was a pillow fight…” 06 Trio Esperança – “Filme Triste”
Yummy 50s-60s Brazilian pop. Can you see where we’re going here? 07 Dean & Britta – “Night Nurse”…I am the night nurse, I am the most/I am the visitor, you are the host… 08 Blouse – “1000 Years”…I move the furniture around/And trick you into lying down…
“I would never hurt you/Or disappear/I’ll love you for a thousand years” 09 Jillian & the Giants – “Mr Airplane”…I don’t even mind…
Up in the air. “Here we go again, sure was nice for a little while/That rosy pink glow/turns red hot when you go/Too high into the other side” 10 Aquaserge – “Virage sud”
Vive la France 11 Connie Kim – “Lý Luận Tình Yêu”
Vietnam. The 70s. What more can one say? 12 Snail Mail – “Thinning”…I don’t think there’s anything wrong… 13 The Horrors – “Sea Within a Sea”…So you might say/The path we share is one of danger/And of fear/Until the end…
For J, the sea within my sea – a sea of constant gentle waves interrupted with the occasional giant waves 14 Lindstrøm – “I Feel Space”
For me, it’s Norway meets Chicago 15 Melike Demirağ – “Hasret”
Türkiye! 16 Meshell Ndegeocello, Sinéad O’Connor – “Don’t Take All Night”
For the love of all that is good in the world 17 Weyes Blood – “Names of Stars”
Places like beauty, simplicity and the cosmos 18 U.N.P.O.C. – “Beautiful to Me”…From time to time I think I must be going blind…
The dear, green place that is Glasgow 19 Evinha – “Vou Seguindo”
Year 2000! Goin’ to Rio! (Naomi)… and our ears take us back to some other time (SD: “I’ll get a job some other time!”) 20 Palace Winter – “Soft Machine”
Not frequent that I get to include Denmark (especially with a dose of Australia). “Acting so obscene/Well by all means/Now that you and I are free/And I’m off my knees” 21 Kristin Hersh – “Nerve Endings”…We’re idiotic optimistics/Rubbing salt into my wrists/Till I feel almost nothing…
So far from soft-eject beige 22 Damien Jurado – “QACHINA”
Seattle. “I lost my mind, so I stepped out for a time/Went for a walk on a long road to unwind” 23 Khruangbin – “Ma Be Ham Nemiresim”
Texas, if you can believe it 24 Destroyer – “Hey, Snow White”…When the company goes public, you’ve got to learn to love what you own…
Oh, Canada… 25 Solar Bears – “Cosmic Runner”
Ireland 26 First Hate – “The One”…You treated me so carelessly/You kept imagining the one…
Copenhagen… another Danish set… so much like the 80s 27 Lea Porcelain – “Out Is In”
My sort of cities (Berlin/London) 28 Moon Duo – “Cold Fear”
Portland 29 Monomono – “Tire Loma Da Nigbehin”
Nigeria… and memories of Billy, Travis and me in happening Årjäng 30 Luna – “Chinatown”
Winter 2017 31 Suburban Lawns – “Flavor Crystals”
Sounds sort of fresh but is almost as old as I am; everything old is new again 32 The Breeders – “Fortunately Gone”…I wait for you in heaven/On this perfect string of love…
It’s so good those days are gone. The past, too, is a place. Both distant and near 33 Richard & Linda Thompson – “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” 34 Mary Timony – “Return to Pirates”
Lost in the particular Mary Timony sound. “I cannot love you more/Said the doctor to the whore/I wanna be in the garden of love/Led by a lamb and a little white dove/I know you can/But I don’t think I can/Swim in your river/And sleep on your sand” 35 Miss Universum – “Fertilize”…I need a man, I need him quick/I need his sperm, I need his dick/I do not need to be seduced/I just need to be reproduced…
When I first heard this, I didn’t really expect it to be Swedish. 36 Hand Habits – “All the While”
“Bring me to the deepest pit/You can push me right off the edge/And when I show up in your dreams/You got away with it” 37 Eefje de Visser – “Ongeveer”
Dutched up. Almost convinced Dutch could be pretty… 38 Mark Eitzel – “The Last Ten Years”…Spent the last ten years/Trying to waste half an hour… 39 Aimee Mann – “Labrador”
“Daisy, you/shouldn’t do the things you do/but you’re just so incapable of changing/you lie so well/I could never even tell/what were facts in your artful rearranging” 40 Joel Alme – “The Way We Used to Beg”
Göteborg. “You were a cold hard stone/But how does it feel to be alone” 41 Teleman – “Glory Hallelujah”…However do you haunt me… 42 San Mei – “Until You Feel Good”
Thank you to Travis 43 Mallu Magalhães – “Culpa do Amor”
Gone back to Brazil, yet again 44 Mazzy Star – “Blue Flower”
Kitchen singalongs and traumatic high-school-era memories 45 Wooden Shjips – “Everybody Knows” …The longing for home/We’re only alone… 46 Aamina Camaari – “Rag waa Nacab iyo Nasteexo”
Bet you couldn’t have guessed I’d take us to Somalia? 47 Blonde Redhead – “Where Your Mind Wants to Go”…If it’s not me or you, then why?… 48 Jane Weaver – “The Architect”
Be the architect of your spaces and places 49 The Bombay Royale – “I Love You Love You”
Melbourne 50 Yma Sumac – “Karibe Taki” 51 Feist – “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You”…I was so disappointed I didn’t know what to do… 52 Young Marble Giants – “Brand – New – Life”
Cymru am byth 53 Eerie Wanda – “I Am Over Here”…And I found you and we make/Sweetest memories/Now I’m here and you are overseas…
We are the world: Dutch band, Dutch-Croatian singer 54 Hater – “Cry Later”
Malmö 55 Richard Hawley – “Tonight the Streets are Ours” 56 Tennis – “Night Vision”
Can’t listen to Tennis without thinking of Esteban 57 Guided by Voices – “Game of Pricks”
“Prick with fork” – love to my mom and to Naomi 58 The Novacs – “Found”
Airdrie! (The Scottish one, not the weird, middle-of-nowhere Airdrie in the Edmonton-Calgary, Alberta corridor) 59 Haifa Wehbe – “Albi Habb”
もう少し Lebanon 60 The Kills – “Monkey 23” 61 Big Thief – “Shark Smile”…she said woo/baby take me…
“She held us, gunning out 90 miles down the road of a dead end dream
she looked over with her part smile, caught up in the twinkle it could take awhile” 62 Linda McCartney – “I Got Up”
Getting up is also a place, a real place 63 Haley Bonar – “Kismet Kill”
“I was impossible when I was beautiful and now/Cartoon deaths just don’t seem so funny” 64 Blouse – “Trust Me”
Famous last words: “Trust me, I’m the one who loves you” 65 Globelamp – “Washington Moon”…I want a California sun/And a Washington moon… 66 Jessica Pratt – “Bushel Hyde”…Words mean more that they did before/In that other place… 67 Robyn Hitchcock – “Sayonara Judge”
October in Oslo 68 Linda Perhacs – “Chimacum Rain”
Lichen. Lichen. Lichen. Oh, dear T’Pow 69 Amália Rodrigues – “Abril”
I love Amália Rodrigues and was surprised to see that that particular tune was one of the least-ever listened to on Spotify. I decided to remedy that all on my own 70 Life Without Buildings – “Sorrow”…Difficult people slip away…
Glesga Glesga Glesga (Glasgow for those not in-the-know) 71 J&L Defer – “Hard Fiction Road”
For SD: Refer to theme song of Canadian children’s show “The Littlest Hobo” at this time. How’s that for random? Even though this is a band from Winterthur, Switzerland, y’know? 72 Wand – “Melted Rope”
“Desire, I barely thinking/In the dark/And life, life is what you wanted/It’s what you are” 73 Koncz Zsuzsa – “Keresem a szót”
Hungarian. And had to choose… for the name Zsuzsa. Just for Martina. 74 She-Devils – “I Wanna Touch You”…can you read my mind?…
Montréal 75 Kikagaku Moyo (幾何学模様)- “Kogarashi”
Tokyo 76 The Limiñanas feat Peter Hook – “Garden of Love”
To France and beyond 77 Yasmine Hamdan – “Samar – Oriental Skeee Remix”
No escape from Lebanon 78 Cold Beat – “62 Moons”…It’s cold but I don’t mind/I’m accustomed to ice…
The Bay Area… 79 Kerem Güney – “Sicak Bir Sevda”
Istanbul grooves 80 Alvvays – “In Undertow”…You made a mistake you’d like to erase and I understand “What’s left for you and me?”…
On, on Toronto – pulled in and pulled under 81 The Magnetic Fields – “Strange Powers”
Song is so New York, so Las Vegas, so outer space 82 Cults – “Go Outside”…I think I want to live my life and you’re just in my way… 83 ShitKid – “Sugar Town”
Sweden remakes 84 Santo & Johnny – “Pineapple Princess”
Aloha from this arctic hula doll 85 Sam Cohen – “Kepler 62”
“Strange neighbors as you know/They come and go/They live in a world without you” 86 Imarhan – “Assossamagh”
Algeria/Tuareg 87 Whyte Horses – “The Snowfalls”
Manchester 88 Rana Alagöz – “Vah Bacim Vah Mehmedim”
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks… 89 EL VY – “Paul is Alive”…Nobody stays above/Out in the waves of love… 90 Carla dal Forno – “What You Gonna Do Now?”
Aussie. Transcends 91 Sanisah Huri – “Joget Malam Berinai”
Singapore/Malaysia. I said I’d show you the world, baby. I just didn’t say it’d be through your ears 92 Monument Valley – “Dear John Letters” 93 Lea Porcelain – “The Love” 94 Grizzly Bear – “Mourning Sound”…Let love age/And watch it burn out and die…
“I stare at the face/Looking through my eyes/I move at a pace/That I cannot survive” 95 Marjan – “Kee Seda Kard Mano”
Iran 96 Heavens to Betsy – “Axemen”
Like being in a high school gym pep rally (as in the song) or first miserable year of uni 97 Mia Doi Todd – “Pancho and Lefty”
A pretty version of best-songwriter-ever (and now-near-ubiquitous) Townes van Zandt tune 98 Pridjevi – “Ako Je”
Hrvatska 99 Widowspeak – “When I Tried”…I was more alive when I tried… 100 The Proper Ornaments – “Cremated (Blown Away)”
London. “I would like to be cremated and blown away…” 101 Věra Příkazská, Plzeňský lidový soubor, Lidová chodská, Zdenek Blaha – “Ó radost má”
Czech check. Love to Martina, Anne 102 Cigarettes after Sex – “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby”
“Whispered something in your ear/It was a perverted thing to say/But I said it anyway/Made you smile and look away”. Lovely but also sounds like it belongs in an 80s John Hughes romance 103 Adia Victoria – “Mortimer’s Blues”…Heaven help me how it hurts…
Back to Nashville 104 Patti Smith – “My Madrigal”…You pledged me your heart/Till death do us part…
“We waltzed beneath motionless skies/All heaven’s glory turned in your eyes”
It’s that time again – Halloween mix time. As I wrote in the letter that accompanied the physical Halloween mailer, so many things have shifted in life of late and decisions all feel like they hinge on so many contingencies that I feel this mix reflects the uncertainty (“feel the sense of the ground constantly shifting if you listen to this CD. All of these mixes are quite random, but somehow I manage to string them together in a way that has some meaning or flow for me – this one feels as disjointed as everything in life feels. Not necessarily even in a bad way – just that things are uneasy”.)
1. U2 – “Salomé”
From those last days before U2 lost the plot.
2. Vorderhaus – “My Situation” 3. Guided by Voices – “Motor Away”…When you motor away beyond the once-red lips/When you free yourself from the chance of a lifetime…
Speed on, Naomi, Bethany; why don’t you just drive away, JKL?
4. Brasstronaut – “Bounce”
“An iceberg slowly melting in the gulf-stream/sends a letter to its lover/I’ll soon return a hurricane/and blow away your doubtful reservations”
5. Magazine – “A Song from Under the Floorboards”
“I am angry I am ill and I’m as ugly as sin/My irritability keeps me alive and kicking/I know the meaning of life, it doesn’t help me a bit”
6. Kristin Hersh – “Fly”
“I’ve fallen so far for the people you are/I just need your star for a day” 7. Yo La Tengo – “You Can Have It All”…Take it baby, you can have it all…
8. Tei Shi – “Bassically”…Baby, I’ll behave/If you let me stay/Please don’t think/That I’m begging you for love…
9. Agnes Obel – “Riverside”…I walk to the borders on my own/To fall in the water just like a stone/Chilled to the marrow in them bones/Why do I go here all alone…
That brief Danish interlude in life. “Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep”
10. The Julie Ruin – “I Decide”
11. Gruff Rhys – “American Interior”…Your dreams will carry me/To a new world…
12. The Stone Roses – “Sugar Spun Sister”
The fulfillment of massive adolescent dreams; seeing the Roses live in Manchester so many years after falling in love with them. Powerful floods of memory and emotion, particularly around my best then-friend, wondering where she is, how she is, what she is doing, and wishing I could have shared this with her, even if I know it would not have lived up to the nostalgic scenes my mind created. I’ve been blasting this ever since.
13. The Shamen – “Ebeneezer Goode”
A memory of a different kind. When I used to hang out with my brother and his friend Matt, Matt used to try to play The Shamen, which annoyed me (I hated The Shamen). It wasn’t until recently that I realized they were Scottish. Listened for a bit during the summer (reviving the old memories in general).
14. Public Enemy – “Between Hard in a Rock Place”
Another bit of the Stone Roses’ experience: Public Enemy as openers. 15. The Tallest Man on Earth – “Time of the Blue”
With love for, work-related commiseration with and thanks to Andreas
16. Waldeck – “Memories”
17. Mirah – “Jerusalem”
And on to Israel
18. Rupa & the April Fishes – “Maintenant”
19. Soko, Cornershop – “Something Makes You Feel Like”…something makes you feel like/life was better once upon a time…
20. The Horrors – “So Now You Know”
Now you know… better. S. ☺
21. The Coral – “Dreaming of You”
Another Stone Roses opener; crowd went wild for this song – I didn’t know it before, but apparently it was even used in an episode of Scrubs… go figure
22. Jim Diamond – “Should Have Known Better”
Even the plumber’s in on it. For S, who knows better: 3 songs here serve as reminder of knowing better
23. The Sugarcubes – “Cold Sweat”
First intro to The Sugarcubes – seeing this video on 120 Minutes and immediately wanting to move to Iceland, although that was not my first inclination toward moving there (nor was it, obviously, the last)
24. Stone Roses – “Shoot You Down”…I never wanted the love that you showed me/it started to choke me…
Loud Stone Roses everywhere, at all hours, taking me right back to the experience of being surrounded by people who could faithfully sing along to every song, to the strange Manchester experience with my brother, the weird Indian/Thai restaurant, meeting up with Hayley and Gareth and turning the grand old age of 41
25. Angel Olsen – “Intern”…doesn’t matter who you are or what you do/something in the world will make a fool of you…
26. Lanakila’s Polynesia – “Tupa`ipa`I Tau Ma Fatu”
The Tahitian portion of my childhood Polynesian dance lessons
27. The Magnetic Fields – “A Chicken with its Head Cut Off”
28. The La’s – “Timeless Melody”
Another of those adolescent connections – mix tapes from Peter in Durham, England, feeling insulated and isolated from everyone in American suburbia
29. The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s on Fire”
30. Julia Holter – “Have You in My Wilderness”…You would fit beautifully in my wilderness/Oh, in your waters I’ve dropped anchor…
For and thanks to a disappearing Stavros and the small blue world we inhabit
31. Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
32. Billy Bragg, Wilco – “California Stars”…I like to dream all my troubles away…
33. Margo Guryan – “Love Songs”…I knew/All the love songs/Once upon a time he sang them/To me…
34. Detox Twins – “Paradox”…my life is a paradox/fuck your box – fuck your box… 35. Night Beats – “Sunday Mourning”
36. Alison Krauss – “Oh Atlanta”
Oddly this, of all things, came to mind when watching the show Atlanta. Could anything be less related?
37. Elvis Costello – “Beyond Belief”…Charged with insults and flattery/Her body moves with malice/Do you have to be so cruel to be callous…
38. Annette Peacock – “Love Me Tender”
Thanks to Mark B for the introduction; sitting in Nürnberg airport, waiting, waiting…
39. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
40. Al Green – “For the Good Times”
“Don’t look so sad, I know it’s over/But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning/Let’s be glad we had some time to spend together/There’s no need to watch the bridges that we’re burning”
41. Angel Olsen – “Not Gonna Kill You”…A love that never seems to curse or to confine/Will be forever never lost or too defined/To lose the feeling of an endless searching through/How to have made what is never about me or you/That is the kind of love I’d always dreamed to be/However painful, let it break down all of me/’Til I am nothing else but the feeling…
Riding trains around western Sweden on a quest for a new car, coming up empty-handed, feeling the melancholy chill of autumn and being torn between decisions I can’t make – too many unresolved contingencies. “Oh, let the light shine in…”
Halloween has always been a bit “hell”-o-ween for me. Not sure – maybe because the adolescents with whom I went to school saw my house as the right palette for their “egg artwork”?
Alas, this is the second year in a row that I am not doing a Halloween-themed bake (probably because I did not go to the US to shop for supplies first!). But was looking through old Halloween-bake pics and remembered my “knife-and-blood” cupcakes.
1. Screaming Trees – “Nearly Lost You”
This year, I nearly lost, and in some cases, lost, so much. The nostalgia brought on by the song and that period in time makes the case for the centrality of loss as a recurring theme.
2. Dark Blue – “Hanging from the Chandelier”
A bit over-the-top but the dramatic sound evokes dark images of last-second glimpses of giant moose on the prowl during my long, wintry, middle-of-night drives. Every dark object in the distance a deer or moose – or a mailbox.
3. Hunx & His Punx – “The Curse of Being Young”
I used to curse my youth – now I wish I could have stood still at 33 forever.
4. Metronomy – “The Look”…you’re goin round in circles/and everyone knows you’re trouble…
5. Phantogram – “The Day You Died”…And I don’t care to say goodbye, cause you’re feeling nothing/I dug into your heart, we got nothing at all…
6. Matrimony – “Giant”…Does it feel good to leave me on my own?…
7. MGMT – “Electric Feel”…shock me like an electric eel…
“All along the eastern shore/Put your circuits in the sea/This is what the world is for/Making electricity/You can feel it in your mind/Oh you can do it all the time/Plug it in and change the world/You are my electric girl”. With love from the sea’s ugliest creature, the wolf eel
8. Cold War Kids – “Mexican Dogs”…flashlights go out/stars will light the way/like Mexican dogs/nobody gave us names…
For Martina, our love for top dogs, piñatas and the endless dog-and-pony show
9. Cowboy Junkies – “Lost My Driving Wheel”…I feel like some old engine/that’s lost my driving wheel…
The sense of losing your bearings, and having nowhere to fall, nowhere to turn, nowhere to rest. Calling out for love, for support, for something, but finding no one, nothing, there.
11. Charles & Eddie – “Would I Lie to You?”
“Ohhhh noooo!” I somehow managed never to know that this song existed until recently. S mentioned it, thinking it was common knowledge. We had a lot of laughs over it and my “death notice delivery” nature (every time he mentioned something, I had an, “Oh and I just found out he’s dead” moment). Suddenly, once I’d heard it, it was everywhere – even the Norwegian radio, perpetually stuck in the 80s and early 90s as it is. Check out the video if you get the chance: 90s music video amateur hour. And it’s all taken on a new life with my friends and me laughing at it. And poor Charles, RIP. For S, for Hayley my former colleague, for Alfa
13. The Boomtown Rats – “Diamond Smiles”…love is for others, but me it destroys…
1970s: was it the coke that led everyone to sing about space, sparkles, glitter, diamonds and satellites? For S, for Angelika
16. Bebe Rexha – “I’m Gonna Show You”…tired of trying to be normal/I’m always overthinking/I’m driving myself crazy…
One of those annoying, cliché-filled songs- the whole “I’m such a crazy bitch you can’t handle me” trope… but still, here it is. It caught me off guard until it became catchy (one of the perils of listening to Norwegian radio…)
17. Garbage – “Push It”
Reminds me of the summer I spent dragging myself out of bed at 4 a.m. daily to go running – one of the songs that carried me through it. College days. And who in the world can get enough of Shirley Manson? Not me!
18. Nortec Collective: Bostich + Fussible – “Motel Baja”…life is like a piñata/filled with candy to the brim…
Middle-of-the-night drives through Sweden listening to Seattle’s KEXP and its Latin music show, El Sonido. One of my favorite songs all year long. “The bottles are all empty/and I can see the border/Goodbye, Tijuana, where the party never ends…”
19. TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”
Another one of my favorites this year. “What you don’t know won’t hurt you/ignorance is bliss/I’m a happy idiot/waving at cars…”
21. Squeeze – “Up the Junction”…she left me when my drinking became a proper stinging…
I can’t listen to this without losing it, bursting into uncontrollable tears, for what it reminds me of. For S. “And when the time was ready/We had to sell the telly/Late evenings by the fire/With little kicks inside her”
22. Queen – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
After a crazed listening and documentary fest digging into Freddie Mercury’s life, the history of Queen, couldn’t resist this. I was never a fan but no denying the unbelievable live charisma (see Live Aid if in doubt – pains me a bit to think of how long ago that was). For Roxane
23. Evans the Death – “Idiot Button”…I’m an idiot for trying…
It is like there’s an “idiot button” that resets again and again, sending me back to the painful beginning, wringing out any last compassion I feel.
25. Pond – “Holding Out for You”…I was only there for you…
The burden of sticking around to be there for someone, holding out hope…
26. Kevin Morby – “Parade”
“If I were to die today/Puppet in that great charade/The last thing that you’d hear me say/Is bury me in different shapes/Of the parade”
27. Mitski – “First Love/Late Spring”
“So please hurry leave me/I can’t breathe/Please don’t say you love me/Mune ga hachikire-sōde/One word from you and I would/Jump off of this/Ledge I’m on/Baby/Tell me “don’t,”/So I can/Crawl back in”
30. The Platters – “Only You”
Just one of those things you have to love.
31. Eddy Grant – “Electric Avenue”
Reminds me of the 80s, being a kid with my brother, Kyle, and enjoying this video on USA Network’s NightFlight (decades before original programming!) or TBS SuperStation’s NightTracks or some other video show in the pre-MTV era (or rather before we had MTV)…
32. O Terno – “Ai, ai, Como Eu Me Iludo”
For all my Brazilian friends and acquaintances.
33. TV on the Radio – “Trouble”
I am in love with this song no matter how many times I hear it.
35. Las Ketchup – “Asereje”
For Sarah. Back when I had pirated Israeli MTV in Seltjarnarnes and this song was everywhere annoying the crap out of everyone. Marshmallow couches, trips to the few restaurants with booths – it was like some other lifetime. The song still annoys – was shocked to hear it on KEXP’s El Sonido radio show this past spring.
36. Ros Sereysothea – “Shave Your Beard”
Reminded me of the Vietnamese music I used to hear with a long-ago boyfriend (from youth). And of course… no more beards. Clean-cut, new passport!. Fresh start, fresh face. For S.
38. U2 – “An Cat Dubh”…yes, and I know the truth about you…
A rabid U2 fan back in my youth, it’s all been downhill for me since Achtung Baby (with The Joshua Tree being the pinnacle of their achievement). But listening anew to the back catalog, nothing they’ve done thrills me more than their first album, Boy. It’s so exuberant, not trying too hard, fresh (certainly for its time) and still sounds exciting, exploratory. I love it and the way the musicians’ youth explodes in sound. For Terra
39. OMD – “If You Leave”
Nostalgia, if for no other reason
41. Leon Bridges – “Better Man”…what can I do to get back to your heart/I’d swim the Mississippi River if you would give me another start, girl…
When one requires and asks for too many chances, you care less and less every time.
42. Berlin – “No More Words”
At first included as an homage to the 80s, the lyrics took on special meaning as I kept being fed the same empty words over and over – only to face the same results (insanity?)
43. Crowded House – “Help is Coming”
Beautiful, underrated and understated Crowded House. Hard to choose a song, really, and at the end of the year as the refugee crisis hit peak levels, their gorgeous, longing tune “Help is Coming” became the anthem of offering refuge.
44. Jermaine Stewart – “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”
One of my ill-advised Norwegian radio-listening experiences yielded this old gem. I wondered, driving along, whatever happened to Jermaine Stewart and his cherry wine, only to come home and discover that he died ages ago. More of my grim-reaper nature. Poor guy – RIP.
45. The Maccabees – “Toothpaste Kisses”
“With heart shaped bruises/and late night kisses/divine”
46. Falco – “Der Kommissar”
Nothing like memories of Lufthansa flight watching Falco biopic
47. Glenn Medeiros – “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You”
I had never been a fan of this dude at all, this song or this style and had promptly, conveniently forgotten the existence of this. S heard it in a TV ad in Glasgow, proceeded to incorporate it into his musical repertoire, and this made me, ever-curious… curious. Glenn is now a wild-patterned-shirt wearing school administrator in Hawaii, where he grew up. We follow each other on Twitter. Strangely, lots of factors can change your love for someone.
48. Night Ranger – “Sister Christian”
I have always hated this song and find the name “Night Ranger” more than comical. But it sticks in the mind in a big way.
49. Lera Lynn – “My Least Favorite Life”
The only good part of the 2nd season of the bloated and pretentious True Detective.
50. Foreigner – “I Want to Know What Love Is”
Another cheesy piece of auditory crap, but I heard it as it closed out the most recent season of Orange is the New Black, and in my apparently weakened emotional state at the time, the song seemed to hit me rather hard.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Random Gum, I have selected songs from the mixes of the last ten years to include on this year-end mix as well as a couple of discoveries to usher in 2015. Everything is as random and impossible to plan as ever.
1. The The – “Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)”
A driving, prescient song with a message truer now than when it originally came out in the late 80s. Valid during the hubbub after the Danish cartoon incident several years ago and valid anew after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris
2. Dolly Parton – “Love and Learn”…each new love I find/turns out to be the wrong kind…
Not sure when I will ever learn – this song has been lingering in my head since 2nd grade (Dolly obsession era)
3. Kishi Bashi – “Manchester” …My favorite part’s when I die, in your arms like a movie…
The beauty of recommending music to people that they fall in love with. Here’s to Dr Ross
4. The Dø – “Stay (Just a Little Bit More)”
Perfect anthem for all the wasted years dealing with the Married Idiot. “He was a bore, a true chore, and I still wonder why I ever wanted to see him more…”
21. Tatsuya Ogino and the Bunnies – “My Sweet and Bitter Days”
The Friday song – the good old days at Opera. Happened to hear on the Friday when I finally put this all together. Love to Janne, Lauren, Annette, Jennifer and everyone from the good old days
22. Sam Phillips – “Love Changes Everything” …I’m not sorry we loved, but I hope I didn’t keep you too long…
When things crashed before finally changing the trajectory of everything: “We can’t fix what’s broken, so let’s leave it here, and walk on – I’ll be right behind you”
23. John Grant – “Queen of Denmark” …I hope you know that all I want from you is sex, to be with someone who looks smashing in athletic wear, and if you’re haircut isn’t right you’ll be dismissed…
More reflection on wasted time with Married Idiot
24. Portishead – “The Rip” … and the tenderness I feel will send the dark underneath/will I follow?…
Feels like the painful but transformative spring of 2008
25. Crowded House – “Don’t Dream It’s Over” …there is freedom within, there is freedom without – try to catch the deluge in a paper cup…
This one never gets old.
26. Martha Wainwright – “Far Away”
Heartbreaking sentiment: “I have no children/I have no husband/I have no reason to be alive/oh, give me one”
27. Lia Ices – “Little Marriage” …I started minding not having it all/one little marriage or big love…
For Jane, for Lóa and everyone who has been enveloped by the lush, layered sounds of Lia Ices
28. Joan Armatrading – “Save Me” … immune or evasive – throw me a lifeline – save me…
29. Low – “Closer”
Being enveloped in something that makes you feel more remote and distant than ever and needing escape
30. The Magnetic Fields – “My Sentimental Melody” …cool and unfazed, you’re always amazed when someone gets hurt…
Used to love this song but now it seems whiny self-victimization now that there’s some backstory.
39. Cowboy Junkies – “200 More Miles”
The first feeling of real heartbreak, 1989
40. Blondie – “The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game”
2015 – Part Past Part Fiction
41. Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Trick Pony”
For Martina – more dog and pony shows, one trick ponies and all the rest.
42. Tomten – “You Won’t Be On My Mind”
Hometown Seattle music. Always lovely. How I wish I’d have my 40th birthday in Seattle this year featuring both Tomten and Tom Skerritt reading a poem! And here’s to all my beloved Seattle friends and acquaintances!
46. Poison – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
For S and spontaneous, passionate renditions of this ridiculous song
47. Bryan Ferry – “This is Tomorrow” … Suddenly a voice I’m hearing/Sweet to my ear/This is tomorrow callin’/Wishin’ you were here…
For S, if only it could be yesterday or tomorrow and not a return to the darkest days
48. The Primitives – “Way Behind Me” …all those lies inside your head/took my hand and led me blindly…
For who I was in the 1980s – and all the people I knew then, and the continued need to know when to walk away. “I’m gonna try my best move/I’m gonna leave you way behind me”
49. Cameo – “Word Up”
For Tomislav; for S and his dancing career/codpiece uniform (ha!)
50. Teenage Fanclub – “Alcoholiday”… Went to bed but I’m not ready/Baby I’ve been fucked already/Falling into line but I’m doing nothing/We’ve got nothing worth discussing./Went to go but it’s all hazy/People say I’m going crazy…
S – the brief time between dark days turned out to be just an “alcoholiday” – never a more fitting song for almost anything. Never knowing what you’ve got til you’ve fucked it up for good. And now it remains to be seen whether the end is Leaving Las Vegas or Edgar Allan Poe
51. Mega Bog – “Aurora/99”
More Seattle gems. For Kyle, Naomi: “Goddammit, don’t take 99!”
52. Cate Le Bon – “I Think I Knew”
Thanks to Aurélien for the lovely recommendation, as always
53. St. Vincent – “Birth in Reverse”
Hard decisions that may close the door forever- a kind of birth in reverse. Love for Annette.
54. Sister Sledge – “Lost in Music” …responsibility to me is a tragedy/I’ll get a job some other time…
Get a job, you fucking disco cokeheads! For S
55. Laura Veirs – “Sun Song”
An Aurélien recommendation – thinking fondly of Malin (because of course I’m the sunshine of her work day!)
56. Jeff Beck – “Morning Dew”
Just has a cool sound
58. The Preatures – “It Gets Better” … And all the times I had you near, through my fingers disappear/I see all that it could be, and it’s better than it ever could be…
S: “Only lonely in your arms again/I know you’re see-through but can we just pretend”
62. St. Vincent – “Digital Witness” …digital witnesses/what’s the point of even sleeping?/if I can’t show it, you can’t see me/what’s the point of doing anything?…
For Martina and Jennie – the word “digital” is forever tainted for me.
63. Cyndi Lauper – “I Drove All Night”
Always stuck driving all night, through all kinds of treacherous conditions
64. The Dø – “Sparks”
“If someone comes & shows up at the door/No one will be there to answer anymore/We have it all on tape now”
69. Father John Misty – “Bored in the USA”
Jesus, this cynical song makes me ache. “Now I’ve got a lifetime to consider all the ways/I grow more disappointing to you as my beauty warps and fades/I suspect you feel the same/When I was young I dreamt of a passionate obligation to a roommate”
71. Al Green – “Tired of Being Alone”
Can’t just be with someone because you’re tired of being alone. For S
72. Tom Waits – “Ruby’s Arms”
“Jesus Christ this goddamn rain, will someone put me on a train/I’ll never kiss your lips again, or break your heart/as I say goodbye I’ll say goodbye, say goodbye to Ruby’s arms”
Pumpkin spice cupcakes are only improved with pumpkin spice pudding as a filling. Topped with the very yucky but totally necessary pumpkin marshmallowy candy, these really represent both Halloween and autumn.
Vanilla cupcakes with cherry “blood” filling decorated with small candy knives
A number of years ago, I worked with a guy who was accused of stabbing another person to death in a parking garage. He spent some time in jail but was eventually released – I suppose there was a lack of evidence. I don’t know all the details of the story or the case. But I can’t look at these small candy knives and not think of him, regardless of his guilt or innocence.
Vanilla cupcake recipe
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 375F/180-185C. Line a cupcake pan with liners.
Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the milk. Beat for a few minutes until the mixture is light. Alternately beat in dry ingredient mix and the remaining half cup of milk. Half-fill each cupcake liner.
Bake for 15-20 minutes (check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of cupcakes; a clean toothpick means the cupcake is ready). Cool.
When cooled, hollow out the center of the cupcakes, discard the middle parts but retain the very top to recover the filled cupcake. Fill each cupcake with cherry jam or cherry pie filling and top with the reserved cupcake lid.
At this point you could also frost the cupcake but the “bloody knife effect” is best achieved by simply sprinkling more jam/filling messily on top of the cupcake and plunging the candy knife into the cupcake or flat on top of the cupcake.