Sour Times of Summer – Random Gum, Summer 2017

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Yet another mix to get through the summer…

It’s fun to go back to old mixes – I have been doing these formally since 2004, so there are a lot of them. It’s extraordinary to feel so strongly the feelings felt at the time of selecting the songs. Even songs that did not have particular import at the time – now I can remember exactly the feeling associated with listening. The 2017 Moving On mix from the early part of the year, for example, included “Trouble” by Girl Ray, which was never a favorite, but now when I listen to it, I imagine this whirlwind trip to Stockholm in December 2016 to pick up my new car and the long drive home (5 hours), the strange feeling of it being snowy and wintry in Stockholm but not at home in the woods in western Sweden (really unusual reversal of winter fortune).

Or I look at the Halloween 2007 mix, and even though I had no idea at that point that I would be leaving Iceland the following year, there are all these hints scattered through everything that I would eventually move to Sweden. Not to mention the ongoing themes of melancholy and uncertainty (the entire 2007 mix reflects that). I can sense an almost palpable shift in the way the mixes were done and the mounting intensity of my music searches and listening as soon as I got my bearings in Norway/Sweden.

In 2008, I made a mix but was almost rootless, and I think I see that rootlessness in the ‘floating’ and almost lazy nature of the mix (even though I had connections to and reasons for the selections, but as a whole it remains one of my least favorite mixes). By 2009 I was deep into ‘discovery’ mode, and that has mostly continued ever since. In 2009, influenced heavily by a French guy, initials BB, dontcha know?? (When am I not under the influence of French guys?) I put a bunch of songs from Diving with Andy on the mix and promptly forgot all about this band until a few weeks ago when Mr Firewall mentioned he had seen the French TV show Maison Close and really liked some songs heard in it from a band whose name he misremembered, but which turned out to be Diving with Andy. Music is a bit like … puzzle pieces. They fit into place sometimes in more than one puzzle, sometimes many years after the puzzle is boxed up and put away.

I guess the truth is life shifted and became something totally different after I left Iceland. It has just taken me ten years to fully recognize and appreciate that difference. Now we are in the 13th year of these mixes. And every year, every time I think… why am I still doing this? But when I consider stopping, I just don’t.

Most parcels will contain some ultra-sour candy from Sweden (I have not included it for everyone, as I knew some people would not like it at all and others would be allergic or not able to consume one or another of the ingredients). I recognize that sour candy isn’t a lovely surprise to everyone (certainly not the way chocolate is welcomed), but sour candy is just about the only kind that I can’t resist. At least here you can appreciate the fun packaging. Rest assured, if I keep this up, I will probably revert to more universally palatable treats. Enjoy your summer!

Whole playlist on Spotify (except those songs that don’t exist there, of course)…

Follow me on Spotify.

The Good Goo of Random Gum: The Sour Times of Summer 2017

01 Flock of Dimes – “Semaphore” …What we cannot keep and we cannot kill/What we cannot communicate…

02 Mekons – “Ghosts of American Astronauts” …It’s just a small step for him/It’s a nice break from Vietnam…
“John Glenn drinks cocktails with God/In a cafe in downtown Saigon”

03 The Undercover Dream Lovers – “Good Luck” …Calm me down/we’ve both been here before…

04 New Order – “Thieves Like Us” …It’s called love/And somehow it’s become unmentionable…

05 Elvis Perkins – “Emile’s Vietnam in the Sky” …And do you ever wonder/Where you go when you die?…

06 Blouse – “No Shelter” …There is no shelter from this storm/Nothing in nature can make my body warm…
“Let’s be alone again, so far away/I’ll ditch all my friends/They won’t even miss me for a day”

07 Psychic Ills/Hope Sandoval – “I Don’t Mind” …Maybe we just can’t/Let it go…

08 Jason Molina – “Tower Song” …The end is coming soon, it’s plain/A warm bed just ain’t worth the pain…
The late Molina doing the late, great Townes van Zandt. “Your fear has built a wall between/Our lives and all what lovin’ means/Will have to go unfelt it seems/And that leaves only sorrow”

09 Chris Cornell – “Before We Disappear” …But there’s a door in every cell/A pearl inside of every shell…
RIP. Never my favorite artist but, my goodness.

10 Julia Holter – “Silhouette” …He can hear me sing/Though he is far/I will lose sight of him…
“No time to hesitate/I cede all my love and play your abandoned fool”

11 Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas – “Boney M Down”
No-No-No-Norway

12 Laura Marling – “Soothing” …I banish you with love/You can’t come in/You don’t live here anymore…
“May those who find you find remorse/A change of course, a strange discord resolved”

13 Robyn Hitchcock – “Mad Shelley’s Letterbox” …Love is all we lay to waste/Now it’s only lips of loneliness that taste you…

14 Charlie Hilton – “Pony” …Get off my back/I’m not your pony…
For Martina ❤ & our dog and pony shows and all the unreasonable expectations of corporate life

15 El Perro del Mar – “Breaking the Girl”
For dear Ben ❤, whom I think of often and miss

16 Aimee Mann – “Poor Judge” …And I can see your light on/Calling me back to make the same mistake again…
“You might have found some other reason/To leave me in that dark ravine/My heart is a poor judge/And it harbors an old grudge”

17 Pumarosa – “Priestess” …It must be hard, you’re being so statuesque…

18 Kingdom of the Holy Sun – “Flown Away”
Yay Seattle. Thanks to Naomi ❤

19 Gun Outfit – “Legends of My Own”
Originally an Olympia band… “I looked familiar in a foreign land/I couldn’t speak, but I could understand/From another life I rode/Into a desert of my own/And when I put my blanket down/I’m going to dream all over”

20 Matt Berry – “Take My Hand” …You could be the one for all I know…/…I can see the light, it looks like you…
For J ❤ “Everybody I know these days is boring me/Or ignoring me/But not you”

21 Martha Wainwright – “Around the Bend”
“I’ve been around the world and back again/I still can’t get those cards to win”

22 Mikko Joensuu – “There Used to Be a Darkness”
FUNland!

23 No Middle Name – “Fading Photo” …I didn’t fall in love to feel this bad…
“Got tickets for our favorite band/The original plan was just to hold my hand”

24 The Monochrome Set – “Eine Symphonie Des Grauens”

25 Shonen Knife – “Baggs”
Japan ❤ This reminds me so much of high school and searching Japanese music stores

26 Ibibio Sound Machine – “The Pot is on Fire”
Perfect for jumping around the kitchen, especially if the heating goes out in winter

27 Goldfrapp – “Anymore” …The power of you/Transforming me…

28 Le Couleur – “Femme”

29 Vorderhaus – “Love Finds Suffocated Blood”
Thank you, ML

30 Moon City Boys – “Rockets”
Swedish music ❤

31 Esin Afşar – “Zühtü”
It’s all Jill ❤ all the time. Thanks, love.

32 Jane Weaver – “Mission Desire”
Maybe I just love people named Jane ❤

33 Jay Som – “Rush”

34 Papercuts – “Future Primitive” …We are here and we’re gone/It’s our work that marches on…

35 Blue House – “I Found My Limit”


36 Heron Oblivion – “Rama”
Another glorious thanks-to-KEXP discovery

37 Amen Dunes – “Lonely Richard”

38 Chris Cornell – “Imagine”
More RIP sentiments

39 Yves Montand – “Sanguine
Ah, Jacques Prévert

40 Kevin Ayers – “May I?” …May I sit and stare at you for a while?/I’d like the company of your smile…

41 The Cure – “How Beautiful You Are”
For J, sparking my memories of Baudelaire and contemplations on humanity. Love for Gary and our junior high school obsessions

42 The Clientele – “Breathe in Now
43 Low – “What Part of Me” …What part of me don’t you want?…
“Can’t you see that I’m bleeding out here?”

44 Tim Darcy – “Still Waking Up” …Yeah you say I’m not awake, but still alive/Isn’t it funny how that happens?…
“Something about the way you blink your eyes/Tells me that you’re not ready/Tells me that you’re still waking up, alone/With too many years left to plan”

45 Novella – “Does the Island Know” …without consequence/is insanity…
Consequences…!

46 Fionn Regan – “The Meetings of the Waters” …Meetings of the waters/Heartaches in the woods…

47 Dusty Springfield – “Wishin’ and Hopin’”
Just a groovy sound that reminded me of something – but definitely not admirable lyrics

48 Robyn Hitchcock – “Flavour of Night” …But who needs to talk when you’re caught in the flavour of night?…
“Eyes you don’t trust, but the fingers have beckoned/How long you got left? Well how long do you reckon?/But who goes to waste when they’re tasting the flavour of night?”

49 Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
RIP. At this point the most cliché, overused song but oddly it was one I had not much heard until Cornell died. I was more likely to run into Soundgarden members at the Broadway/Cap Hill Safeway than hear their music

50 Charlie Hilton – “Funny Anyway”
“Put your arms around me/Tell me I’m ok, even though I’m not laughing/It’s funny anyway”

51 Kadhja Bonet – “Honeycomb”
“Beckoning – with fickle majesty/Your whims are always met/Honeycomb/And I lucky fool in courtly jest/But the jokes are all on me”

52 Maybird – “Big Sun Explosion” …I finally lifted my eyelids to see light/And when they were open, I saw the big sun explosion…
“Poor vision and poor health, what do you tell yourself?/Objects appear a little more clear when they’re nearer”

53 Yo La Tengo – “My Heart’s Not In It” …And there’s just nothing I can do/To get that feeling I had with you…

54 Cate Le Bon – “I Just Wanna Be Good”
For SD Firewall. “I don’t wanna be the cold cuts lying on your floor/I don’t wanna be the stray dog scratching at your door”

55 The Clean – “Anything Could Happen”
New Zealand ❤

56 Michael Kiwanuka – “Falling”

57 Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – “1,000 Times”
“I had a dream that you were mine/I’ve had that dream a thousand times”

58 Guided By Voices – “Tractor Rape Chain”
Alcoholic Mr Rogers! Love to Naomi. “Why is it every time I think about you/Something that you have said or implied makes me doubt you/Then I look into your cynical eyes and I know it/As if it never meant anything to me”

59 Bjørn Torske – “Hard Trafikk”
More (S)Norway

60 Pepe Deluxé – “Go Girl Go” …Ladies: You win…
For Annette and Tilda: “You’re at the party and it’s your show”

61 Electrelane – “The Valleys”
Taken from/inspired by Siegfried Sassoon’s “A Letter Home

62 Tom Williams – “Everyone Needs a Home” …There’s nothing here for us any more…

63 Curve – “Ten Little Girls”
Still sounds as good today as when it was new. Curve still comes to mind often

64 Trance Farmers – “Lone Star”

65 Savoy Motel – “Hot One”
Another jumping-around-the-house kind of song. Keeps you awake and warm

66 Ultimate Painting – “Into the Darkness”

67 Julie Byrne – “Sleepwalker”
“I lived my life alone before you/And with those that I’d never succeeded to love/And I grew so accustomed to that kind of solitude/I fought you, I did not know how to give it up”

68 Portishead – “Sour Times”
Mostly just to accompany super sour candy

69 Karl Blau – “If I’ve Died on You”
From good old Anacortes

70 David Bowie – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” …Oh, no, love, you’re not alone…

71 Aimee Mann – “Invisible Ink” …I suppose I should be happy to be misread/Better be that than some of the other things I have become…
“Oh, I could get specific but/Nobody needs a catalog/With details of a love I can’t sell any more”

72 Low Roar – “Give Me an Answer”
“I know the time and the space that you need; it’s blurry but I’ll get on/It’s getting hard to tell day from a day, just say it and I’ll move on”. If only people would lead with actual answers

73 Piano Magic – “Closure”
“Let’s get this thing sewn up, let’s get this thing signed off, let’s tie up these loose ends/cause you say we can’t just be friends/All these people open wounds/the English always too polite to say what really must be said/They’d rather take it to their death/But you never get, no you never get…closure”

74 Robyn Hitchcock & Emma Swift – “Life is Change” …you don’t want to see that life is change…

75 Townes van Zandt – “If I Needed You” …And you will miss sunrise/If you close your eyes…

76 The Finn Brothers – “Last Day of June” …The city draws its breath in/I can almost hear it thinking/There are people within my walls/See their wild disorder/Driving their machines/Swarming like a million bees…

77 Meshell Ndegeocello – “Either Way I Lose”
It’s weird but this song and interpretation of it desperately makes me want to have sex. Haha.

Baby steps toward the world

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I remember with some trepidation and self-consciousness my very first attempts to read and make sense of French – taking everything so literally at first, taking my time with grasping idiom. It’s always a series of baby steps when transforming your brain to take in and process new languages. To really feel them and live them, you must, to paraphrase the late Derek Walcott, you must change your life. I did not change my life, and thus I’m still no expert, but better recognize the fluidity of language in a way that my grammatical and rigid approach to English never allows for.

One window (or ‘windae’, were we Scots) to crawl through to find meaning in disembodied, lifeless translation drudgery was music. As soon as I realized, as a teenager who wanted nothing more than to run away from my hometown (tout de suite), that much of my favorite music was inspired by literary greatness, I could at least immerse myself in those other worlds. Imagine, though, that somehow in the intervening years, I had completely forgotten the connection between “Les yeux des pauvres” (Baudelaire) and the almost word-for-word treatment by The Cure in “How Beautiful You Are”.

I don’t know if you can imagine how much it was like opening a window to the past, almost like time travel, to be reminded of this and to return in my mind to that time in 1988-9 when this song so deeply moved me to tears and led me to Baudelaire. And how, now in present day, having the memory reawakened when someone sent me the Baudelaire describing it as: “unutterably sad commentary on relationships and the human condition. I love it”, I am moved to find someone else is as deeply affected by the same feelings.

Random Gum: Summer 2016 soundtrack

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Random Gum – Summer 2016 soundtrack: Alive and Kicking
Latent Love and the Pre-Internet Days

The whole playlist (minus the songs that don’t exist on Spotify…) on Spotify.

01. Simple Minds – “Alive and Kicking” …now it’s all or nothing/cause you said you follow through…

Appeared twice in the same week on primetime TV (The Goldbergs & Fresh Off the Boat), proving 80s/90s nostalgia is alive and kicking – Simple Minds and John Hughes, always leading the charge. For S, for Amber

02. Vorderhaus – “Stepping Off the Ghost Train” …You tell yourself you’re in love/I tell myself I don’t care/I’m stepping off the ghost train/I’m tired of loving you in vain…

03. INXS – “Never Tear Us Apart” …but if I hurt you, I’ll make wine from your tears…

A cover version of this with female vocal (Paloma Faith) appeared in L&O SVU and made me think of the original, and of the domino-like tragedy of HutchenceYatesGeldof. And after the “Alive and Kicking” appearances I also thought of former best friend Terra and her junior high crush on INXS’s Jon Farriss. She had gone to spend the summer in Aberdeen (Scotland, not WA), dreamt Farriss died and had written me a letter (yes – a real letter, as this all happened in the 1987-8 world before the internet) describing the nightmare, to which I replied, “Don’t worry – he’s alive… and kicking!” Which was only funny at all because INXS’s hit album was called KICK. For Terra. For S.

04. John Grant – “Geraldine” …we’re not like them, we’re not that strong/at least that’s what they have been telling us all along…

The gorgeousness of John Grant continues.

05. The War on Drugs – “Under the Pressure” …When it all breaks down and we’re runaways/Standing in the wake of our pain…

06. Glenn Frey – “The Heat is On”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCoP2W4v2v8
This has been a particularly rough year so far for musical deaths. I’m no Glenn Frey/Eagles fan, but this song plays into 1980s memories as well as a more recent vignette when two of my colleagues and I took our young Spanish intern to lunch for his birthday, and he commented on how I can possibly wear dresses in the cold, and I replied, “In the office, the heat is on…” The three of us old lady colleagues, in unison, burst into song, ‘The heat is on…’, which perplexed the youthful Spaniard.

07. AaRON – “U-Turn (Lili)” …you know there’s still a place for people like us…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTKfrY4cQ9I
Many thanks to my colleague, Laurent. This popped up at a time that everyone and everything seemed to be named Aaron, and as Key & Peele ended on Comedy Central, and I inhaled all five seasons in a few days, and keep going back to the “Substitute Teacher” clip in which the sub pronounces it, “A-A-Ron”.

08. Beach House – “Days of Candy” …I know it comes too soon/The universe is riding off with you…

09. David Bowie – “Sound & Vision”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoDamvrfUbQ
I’ve never experienced anything like the collective outpouring of shared grief and mourning for a public figure – and felt a part of it – the way I did when Bowie unexpectedly died in January 2016. I had never been a huge fan, but his departure felt like the dimming of a bright light that guided our path through the modern cultural landscape. For weeks afterward, I cried if I listened to him (which I could not stop doing) or thought about him. In the end, mortality will come for the flesh, but the work, voice, sound and vision live forever.

10. Lush – “Lovelife” …in your concrete arms I adore you…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYzfT1zmAGg
Celebrating the resurrection of Lush, their 2016 tour and (possibly) seeing them in London in May (which, sadly, I could not). For all my Lush-loving friends (too numerous to count!). “Every door conceals a dream and a nightmare…”

11. Karen Elson – “Who’s Sorry Now?”

12. The Chills – “Soft Bomb Part One” …I’m tearing all my hair out with my hands/I know what they will never understand…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdI_xhB7bgY
For all the New Zealand-leaning ambitions and longing. For all the NZ friends (Trevor, Kimberley, Dan, Lauren)…

13. Los Blenders – “TJTQ”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXPvHOJFSWk
Tijuana! For Martina, as everything Mexican is.

14. Tennis – “Mean Streets” …Stay on your own/Or leave it alone…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ei2gXl203w
For Esteban and Ana, fellow Tennis fans.

15. KC & the Sunshine Band – “Boogie Shoes”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m47EQtAMzI
I don’t know how this fits into the soundtrack, really. I watched a documentary about the 1970s and thought we could use a pause here to groove on the decade

16. 88 ULTRA – “Oceans”

17. Christine and the Queens – “No Harm is Done” …I can follow/Wanna take the lead/but I roam all alone/With a heart so hollow…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ6FYytu1pM
With more thanks to Laurent.

18. Damon Albarn – “Heavy Seas of Love”

19. The Ink Spots – “I’ll Get By”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh4YlBKNZso
For S the Firewall

20. Elvis Costello – “Sweet Pear” …But there’s a void without your kiss/I wake on the precipice above the abyss/And though the touch of your lips these fears dismiss/Make no mistake there is an ache I have to live with…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ9bVpGLego
“Was my grip too loose, my grip too strong/That made you want to run away/And now you’re back where I pretend you belong/I wonder every night and day, how long?” For Roberto.

21. Dom La Nena – “Saudade” …E onde é que foi que vi voar aquele beija flor/Onde esta agora os restos de um amor que machucou/E o tempo passou, você não mudou/A quanto tempo foi que você não voltou…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG8cpJCl7Mk
Brasil, so much in the news, so much in the thoughts, this year.

22. Soapkills – “Wadih”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoLA1tCLcBI
Many thanks to Aurélien and Catherine.

23. Sleeper – “What Do I Do Now?” …is there someone else, am I too familiar, was it when I said I wanted to have children…?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSe3dV7dPYw
I’ve always preferred Elvis Costello’s slower, sadder recording of this song. Every time I hear it, it seems to take on new depth and meaning. “What do I do now? Are we going under? What did I do wrong? I thought we had it sorted out the other day. Maybe I’m just stupid. Thought we’d try again. No one told me it was raining.”

24. Linda Mirada – “Lío en Río”

25. Crystal Castles – “Plague”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx2lJIOTBjs
For and thanks to Roxane.

26. Saint Motel – “A Quick One While He’s Away” …It’s like a dream to be with you again…

27. Townes van Zandt – “Waitin’ Around to Die” …sometimes I don’t know where this dirty road is taking me…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbsMn476T2U
Never get enough of Townes. “Now I’m outta prison, got me a friend that lasts. Well he don’t drink or steal or cheat or lie, well, his name’s codeine, he’s the nicest thing I’ve seen, yeah, together we’re gonna wait around and die.”

28. Psycho Killer – “Road to Nowhere”
Stuff like this (the original anyway, and the Talking Heads in general) and The Pretenders – stuff I could not appreciate until on the cusp of being “aged” like cheese or wine.

29. Tom Jones – “The Young New Mexican Puppeteer”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvQHt5t7zkg
Of course I’m inspired by Martina (another Mexican thing) here and how kind of comical this song is, but also thinking of multiple discussions on the dislike for Welsh people (haha) and the recent passing of Tom Jones’s wife (RIP).

30. Salt Petal – “Cumbia de Billinghurst”

31. Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio” …No comprende/it’s a riddle…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyCEexG9xjw
For Martina. “I wish I was in Tijuana/eating barbecued iguana”

32. Telefon Tel Aviv – “Helen of Troy” …Your face is the place/where it ends…

33. Clan of Xymox – “A Day”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiJ3KU0bme0
This certainly takes me back in time.

34. Ezra Furman – “Body Was Made” …Your body is yours at the end of the day
and don’t let the hateful try and take it away…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkEkjxX_YrM
Had not heard so much saxophone in a long time, and stumbled on this right after having multiple conversations about how the name “Ezra” isn’t one you hear often.

35. Lush & Jarvis Cocker – “Ciao!” …life is wonderful now that I’m rid of you…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0Jvo5_IrlI
This is 1996 for me, two of my favorites of the time, trying to break away from the grip of shitty relationships that seem to be the telltale sign of young adulthood.

36. Count Five – “Psychotic Reaction”

37. Mashrou’Leila – “Imm El Jacket”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsablD8vu0w
Thanks to Aurélien and Catherine.

38. Eddie Rabbitt – “Drivin’ My Life Away”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tvEvBUG8mY
Music my mom listened to a lot when my brother and I were children. My brother had an angry-looking, fluffy blue stuffed rabbit he named “Eddie Rabbit” thanks to our exposure to this. Wondering what happened to the little rabbit, as I made some of my last long-haul drives in the middle of the night between home & Gothenburg.

39. Irma Thomas – “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)”

40. Townes van Zandt – “Be Here to Love Me”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6NPj9M_p20
“Your eyes seek conclusion in all this confusion of mine/though you and I both know it’s only the warm glow of wine/that’s got you to feeling this way/but I don’t care I want you to stay/hold me and tell me you’ll be here to love me today”

41. Bertrand Belin – “Je parle en fou”

42. John Grant – “Down Here”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eViyPYJ2okc
“Cause what we got down here is oceans of longing/And guessing games, and no guarantees/And you work so hard to be in control/And now you’re laughing at yourself because you can’t let go”. For Roberto.

43. Still Corners – “Beginning to Blue”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgEB3rY8ZGI
Lovely song anyway but its placement in the stunning second season of You’re the Worst, when you’re hit with the realization that the main character is descending into a deep, dark depression was perfect.

44. Philip Selway – “Coming Up for Air”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMxXmW1pqeU
For Kyle. “You hafta come up for aih(s) sometime”. Ugh/puke.

45. Robyn Hitchcock – “1974” …And as Nixon left the White House you could hear people say/’they’ll never rehabilitate that mother, no way’…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVDDXFpVjNU
Robyn is just a magnificent storyteller, master of verbal imagery and a genius. Love! If “Boogie Shoes” was a grooveable 70s moment, this is a philosophical rumination on that ruinous and ugly decade.

46. Elvis Costello – “What Do I Do Now?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuJJBJHDUcY
Had to include this version, too, of course.

47. Alex Vargas – “Till Forever Runs Out”

48. The Cure – “A Strange Day” …Held for one moment I remember a song/An impression of sound/Then everything is gone/Forever…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4mym0EFKM8
For Gary, with whom it’s great to be back in contact. Here’s to the best moments of our teenage years.

49. New Edition – “Cool It Now”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZUq6N7Gx1c
I remember enjoying this video as a little kid – and then the tune turned up in the soundtrack to Master of None and I just had to include it.

50. Happyness – “Montreal Rock Band Somewhere”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hcwZ9EptZs
“What do you do when you hate all your friends?”

51. Tobias Jesso Jr – “Without You”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ybYYKBd_40
“I can hardly breathe without you/There is no future I want to see without you/I just don’t know who I would be without you/There is nothing out there for me without you…”

52. Koudlam – “See You All”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYu3Y7JT810
I don’t know why, but this song is the right one for walking through the city and waiting in queues.

53. bigott – “Baby Lemonade”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So7IharnjCs
“Like in the movies, she wake up dreaming/nothing is hiding/if you can find it…”

54. Giant Sand – “Stranded Pearl” …every girl is like a pearl/hearts strung along and then left stranded…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUKHnrTXzg
A great, visual, wordy song. “I lost me my eye in a battle/went there to rattle their cage/lost sight of the big picture/now this permanent fixture is my rage”. (Made me think a bit at the end of a Derek Walcott poem, “Codicil”, which ends, “All its indifference is a different rage.”)

55. The Staves – “Black & White”

56. Jordie Lane – “Fell Into Me”
Sounds very reminiscent of Neil Finn. Thanks to Nicki.

57. Ra Ra Riot – “Foreign Lovers”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unmaQzVS9lw
“Well the one in Chicago wasn’t there anymore, and because that thing in Berlin wasn’t anyone’s fault… I got no idea what’s fair but I knew before – you got foreign lovers”. An insanely fitting song, stumbled on by accident. All the foreign lovers (and hilarious that Chicago and Berlin are the cities referenced…).

58. Niyaz – “Beni Beni”

59. Jaakko Eino Kalevi – “No End” …I guess it’s useless to say/I want you to stay…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT6dDiQBPPI
The Guardian described Jaakko thusly: “tram driver in Helsinki by day, weird-pop maestro by night”.

60. All We Are – “Keep Me Alive” …I hear nothing at all but your breathing…

61. Fairport Convention – “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”

As an adolescent, my friend Terra and I ‘discovered’ Fairport Convention, and it’s still something nice to listen to. When I listened to this again and reflected on the time that’s passed by since we were friends, and particularly since we were close and finding new music together, the song was particularly poignant and bittersweet.

62. Núria Graham – “Dark Past” …everybody’s got a dark past/but mine is just about to start…

63. David Bowie – “Cat People” … Just be still with me/You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through…

64. Cousteau – “Last Good Day of the Year”

“When the summer’s light is fragrant/with scents of returning/you relent, you resent, now you’re burning/for nothing to change…”

65. Wire – “German Shepherds” …it’s beginning to and back again…

Song title made me think, in a very roundabout way, of the Paris attacks of November 2015. Following the attacks, the French government went on the offensive and a Belgian shepherd (like the one in the TV show Person of Interest) was killed during a raid, prompting the Russians to give a new dog to the French. Hmm. Then in March, of course, Belgium fell victim to yet another terror attack.

66. Pet Shop Boys – “Love is a Bourgeois Construct”

No sentiment could be truer. November 2015, driving around downtown Tacoma, with thanks to my brother, Kyle, on relationships: “That phase of my life is over.”

67. Vorderhaus – “Venus in Retrograde” …how do you really love/the truth is happening/it’s venus in retrograde/the dark affair within…
You know you want more: https://soundcloud.com/vorderhaus/

68. Townes van Zandt – “For the Sake of the Song” …nothing’s what it seems/maybe she’ll start someday to realize/if she abandons her dreams/then all the words she can say are only lies/when will she see that the gain is only to lose/all that she offers me are chains/and I got to refuse…

For ML. “Maybe she just has to sing for the sake of the song/who do I think that I am to decide that she’s wrong?”

69. The Paris Sisters – “I Love How You Love Me”

Dreamy.

70. Blur, Françoise Hardy – “To the End”

71. Primal Scream – “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have” …I betrayed you, you trusted me, and I betrayed you…

Sometimes you realize that even when something is ostensibly done, you cannot fully move forward until you have let go completely of past things and people. The sad reminder of the last conversation, last realization/S.

72. Amanda Bergman – “Vintersaga”

For many reasons I put this here – it’s a Swedish story full of Swedish place, but it is also choice for its connection to dear Andreas, the value of musical recommendations, and to our many talks about ad copy and the fraudulent feeling of writing stuff without meaning, pop culture stuffing of ads & such.

73. David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

Constant striving for Berlin, which represents a constant striving for change.

74. Prince & the Revolution – “When Doves Cry”

What can I even say? If Bowie was a loss and a shock, the loss of Prince was an even greater shock. For me, Prince is always freshest, best and alive in the Purple Rain period. I fell in love with the first time I heard this one as a child. RIP.

75. Johnny Cash – “The Beast in Me”

A fitting ending, in many ways. For S. “God help the beast in me.”

Learn flying blind: The in-between world of the between creatures

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Being experienced but not an expert is like living in the in-between world forever as a “between creature”. Sure, maybe I am an “expert” compared to some, but not objectively. I think of this a lot when I think about poetry. Going through the whole world’s poetry and really feeling it, feeling that I have a grasp on it, spending more than 20 years immersing myself in it as an amateur aficionado, I have a grasp on it that no layperson would have but will never have the kind of in-depth knowledge to be more than a dabbling dilettante or to become a professional academic/expert in this area. Every field has a technical or depth threshold that I have never had much desire to cross. It is like being a journeyman forever.

Much of life is lived in this “in-between” place. Never fully in one place or another. Never fully done with the past, always looking toward the future – so never fully in the present.

Naturally this too reminds me of a poem.

Evolution
Marin Sorescu (Romania)
It is time to learn from the bats
The between-creatures
Who can home in the dark.

Learn flying blind.
Dispense with the sun.
The future is dark.

In Between DaysThe Cure

Worry overtakes

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I had one of those days recently that just made everything seem so hopeless. Such days happen. I want to give them a name. Like “Snickerdoodle Days” – harkening back to the days when all I had to think about was passing my driver’s licensing test, school and listening to new music with friends. And baking snickerdoodles every weekend, of course. Back in the end of the 1980s or the early 1990s. Listening to “Harold and Joe” in the tail-end of the goodness of The Cure’s musical career. I reminisce clearly about this song, playing on a mix tape from my friend Gary as I crossed the field from the main campus to the “vocational building” for my ill-fated drafting class. Or just, in general, “…it was acceptable in the 80s… it was acceptable at the time…” (Calvin Harris).

Sometimes, if I have a drink – since I don’t drink – I become quite emotional. Feelings wash over me in a way that convinces me that I would be one of those “sad drunks”.

I am thinking of the verb “to miss” – against the term “to be missing”. I read something that stated “I am just missing Bob in Skype”, which was unclear. We’re back to the challenge of how to phrase it when you want to state that you miss someone versus what you should state when you want to say that something is missing/not there/lacking. Does “I am just missing Bob in Skype” mean that he is not signed in (and you miss talking to him)? Or is this missing him in the sense that he is missing, e.g. he never subscribed to Skype and you are missing him from your contact list? Like a missing child, a missing puzzle piece – something that is not there versus something that you have a sentimental sense of loss for. The sense of loss and the idea of losing people and of murder – I recently published the recipe for some vanilla cupcakes filled with cherry “blood” filling and some candy knives as decoration – this rushes to mind. All the loss, untimely and senseless, as described below, or the ideas of murder – e.g, a former colleague who was accused of murdering a neighbor in their common parking garage. I don’t ultimately know what happened there, but it is still the loss of a life – both the victim and potentially that of the former colleague.

I have recently moved my blog to a new platform (the brilliant WordPress). I had been using MyOpera because it was handy – I worked at Opera for so long, it seemed like a smart idea to just use the community blog… but I always had the nagging feeling in my mind that it would one day meet its demise. Like most things – it was too altruistic an effort – and a real effort – to maintain such a community – for a company that is increasingly profit obsessed. I moved the whole thing over, but I don’t know that I love the layout/theme I chose. But it will do for now. Ideally I would get the whole thing set up and designed for my own domains, but I am just time-challenged. MyOpera was never ideal – quite ugly and no one had ever heard of it. My new choice is still a wee bit ugly, but at least WordPress is hardly going to collapse. Either way, my choice is a little bit ugly. Not unlike the whole Wolf Eel idea.

This year has been such an empty, gray space. It started with major change, but has just felt like a daily grind, churning through the abyss of dull daily life with the accompanying annoyances – but they have been frequent. Since the start of the year, there have been so many deaths, illnesses, big changes – so much unexpected and unpleasant change. I go through so much of my own completely ON my own – and then become so completely overwhelmed by the issues affecting other people – the suicide of a young former colleague (a new mother), the death of a friend’s young wife, the death of a former colleague’s young child – and then the catastrophic illness of another former colleague and an accident that nearly took the life of a family friend (he fell off a ladder when he was home alone). Or the murder accusation about the former colleague, mentioned in an earlier post about cupcakes. “Murder Tonight in the Trailer Park” by the Cowboy Junkies springs to mind, only it’s murder tonight in the parking lot, not trailer park, in this case. And then I think further on loss – not personal but to the artistic community – the recent death of Lou Reed. And I think then of how much of an impact Lou Reed and his creativity had, how much they contributed. Stream of consciousness.

Not to add the upcoming, somewhat sudden, voluntary deployment abroad of my brother – military. Worry.

The nature of worry springs to mind. Worry overtakes me so easily.

City Winter 2013 – Soundtrack – The Good Goo of Random (Love) Gum

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The CD version went out to the people they normally go to on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, here’s the collection that has carried me through winter and the big changes 2013 has delivered into my life.

City Winter 2013 – The Good Goo of Random (Love) Gum
A stab in the heart is as good as a stab in the eye – anti-Valentine’s Day 2013

The full Spotify playlist. (The songs that are available on Spotify, anyway. Sadly not all are.)

01. “Parting Gift” — Fiona Apple …I bet you could never tell/that I knew that you didn’t know me that well…
“It is my fault, you see/you never learned that much from me.”/ “It ended bad but I love what we started.”

02. “A Night Like This” – The Cure
Summer of 1989. The last time I felt everything unfiltered.

03. “A Good Thing” – Saint Etienne …Pack your bags and move along/before your feelings get too strong…
With love to Naomi. And with love to Ben.

04. “Take a Letter, Maria” – R.B. Greaves
Have always hated this song but last year the artist died and I discovered he is from Guyana (like a dear friend’s “I can’t feel my fingers” dad). I have always wondered with regard to this song how and why, if this guy is so devastated about catching his wife with another man, he can so easily move on to his secretary. And when he questions whether he was wrong to work nights to try to make a better life and cannot understand why his wife cheated, why is he not asking whether perhaps all his late nights at the office led his presumably lonely wife to conclude that he was already having an affair with his secretary, which drove her to another man?

05. “Time It’s Time” – Lia Ices …As bad as bad becomes/It’s not a part of you/And love is only sleeping/Wrapped in neglect…
With love for Jane, for Heather, for Alfa…
The song (no YouTube link!)

06. “Pure” – Lightning Seeds …If love’s the truth then look no lies/And let me swim around your eyes/I’ve found a place I’ll never leave/Shut my mouth and just believe/Love is the truth I realize/Not a stream of pretty lies/To use us up and waste our time…
Tenth-grade coming back to bite me in the ass. I got this album from Rodney as a Christmas gift. We all started getting jobs and more importantly, driver’s licenses (goodbye, Hell Machine school bus!). Present day… JKL and references to long-ago “youth” and end-of-January grey Gothenburg days. “Fresh and deep as oceans new/Shiver at the sight of you…”

07. “Dying is Fine” – Ra Ra Riot
xo Jill. “Death oh baby/You know that dying is fine but maybe/I wouldn’t like death if death were good/Not even if death were good.”

08. “Black Belt” – John Grant …What you got is a black belt in B.S…
“You are callipygian/but look at the state you’re in….” Can you argue with a man who fits “callipygian” into a song? For Kyle.

09. “Subculture” – New Order …In the end you will submit/it’s got to hurt a little bit…
The late 80s, early 90s – and all the illusions and confusions of that time.

10. “There’s a Barbarian in the Back of My Car” – Voice of the Beehive …He’s got his eyes on the horizon/he says I can ride his rocket/while telephone numbers are tumbling from his top pocket/dream logic operator/he falls out of the car/he says, “I’ll fuck you later, now just get me to the bar”…
So many barbarians, so many who want things all their way, all on their terms, with no consideration for others. ML, JKL

11. “Aime Mon Amour” – Benjamin Biolay …Quand bien même elle garde ses mystères/Même si tu l’envoies en l’air/Aime Mon Amour/Je te descends…
For Bruno. For Aurélien. Always the French guys.

12. “Wish You Were Here” – Lia Ices …We’re just two lost souls/living in a fishbowl/year after year…
With love for Jane, this almost unrecognizable version of an overdone Pink Floyd classic. “How, how I wish you were here…”

13. “Some People” – Martha Wainwright …I don’t want to be the one to tell you that I don’t love the way I used to…
“If only I believed in God I’d ask him to help me find my way/I am faced with a world that does not have the words to say…”

14. “I’m Leaving It Up to You” – Dale & Grace …Now do you want my love?/Or are we through?…
Who would I be if I were not including songs that considerably pre-date my existence?

15. “The Belle of St Mark” – Sheila E
No clue why – had an urge to hear music that reminds me of the hell of 5th and 6th grades and of my old friend, Danielle.

16. “Healed” – Lia Ices …Just dust…
Always with Jane in mind. And here’s to the shattering of illusions about who you thought people were (Ph).
No YouTube link – here it is.

17. “Meant to Move” – Lerin Herzer & Andrew Joslyn …Some people were meant to sit still/I’m afraid I was meant to move…
In yet another new place, new city, new job, moving on again, as I am meant to do, even if some things never change.

18. “Computer Love” – Kraftwerk
Thanks to Laurent. With ML in the back of the mind. My computer love days are over; goodbye tech world!

19. “Ends of the Earth” – Lord Huron …I was a-ready to die for you, baby/Doesn’t mean I’m ready to stay/What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given/If all you do is stand in one place…
And where is that person who would wander and follow? “To the ends of the earth, would you follow me/There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see…”

20. “Amor Fati” – Washed Out …What you can’t afford now/Chasing all your thoughts, you know that/You’ll be all right in time…

21. “Hallelujah” – The Helio Sequence …We all want answers anyway…
We faithless few. “And waiting pensive, sad, and look/Up to the stars and counting all the suns and all the moons/How sad it was that we could not believe…”

22. “Hong Kong Garden” – Siouxsie and the Banshees
I have always liked Siouxsie and the Banshees but never got into as much as I have of late. Ecstatic when this comes on during my dark, winter morning walks to the tram. Ecstatic for the sound, not so much for the disorienting, misguided lyrics.

23. “Genesis” – Grimes …Holding on/I am a vagabond /It’s always different/I am the one who falls…

24. “Lovefingers” – School of Seven Bells

https://soundcloud.com/vagrantrecords/lovefingers

25. “Thru the Field” – Memory Tapes …Walk on through the field, it’s already late/I swear I heard somebody laughing/At all my mistakes…
All my mistakes… luckily the majority are personal rather than professional or big “life” things.

26. “Alone Again Or” – LoveYeah, said it’s all right/I won’t forget/All the times I’ve waited patiently for you/And you’ll do just what you choose to do/And I will be alone again tonight, my dear…
Here’s to all the waiting around for nothing, empty plans, broken promises…

27. “You’re Still Beautiful” – The Church
Always forgetting The Church – underrated and underplayed. Brings back late-80s memories

28. “Suspended in Gaffa” – Ra Ra Riot …That girl in the mirror/Between you and me/She don’t stand a chance of getting anywhere at all…
Thanks to Jill for the recommendation. Never really been much of a Kate Bush fan, but I’m all for Kate Bush covers.

29. “Argonauts” – The Little Ones …You ought to kick and scream/For every fallen dream, there’s a hard knock on the door/Like stones, yeah we’ll never move to shore…

30. “Crazy Tropical Survival Guide” – Frederick Squire & Katherine Maki …All at once/the world ended/all at once everything in the world became so clear…
I heard this but could not find it for the last Halloween mix – now I don’t like it as much as then but am still including it.

31. “Crucify Your Mind” – Sixto Rodriguez …And you assume you got something to offer/Secrets shiny and new/But how much of you is repetition/That you didn’t whisper to him too…

32. “Heavenly Bodies” – Tamaryn …She’s a fool/But time is a thief/When it comes in to say/Her love has to wait…

33. “Sometime” – DIIV …Oh your body is a mess sometimes/Your brain is just a part of your head it really is a mess sometimes/Your head is just a part of the rest/It’s really necessary sometimes/Your birth is just a part of your death/That really isn’t it this time your death is just a part of your…

34. “Half Gate” – Grizzly Bear …But honestly it’s fine/When I mention how I love you/It’s all I do/Even as I stray/We have the cold to keep/I’m not sure I still believe/My most is nothing more/Than a place we’ve been before…
Regret. A song as dramatic shopping list of regret. “Which of yourselves is truly gone?/Checked out so long/Unhinged unwound/Come help me on/To let lie what’s done/In some great beyond/You’re still there still as you were…”

35. “Working Titles” – Damien Jurado …You could mess up my life in a poem/Have me divorced by the time of the chorus…
For all those who are never quite the right one. “Killing time til I pass through the chamber/Or the room where you keep my replacement/Se fed up still you’re starving on paper/You are no him, but he’s you, only better…” “Leave me an exit to damage/I could use a ledge to jump off of/I wasn’t lying when I said this was over/I have questions that lead to more questions…”

36. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Otis Redding …You were tired, and your love is growing cold/My love is growing stronger as our affair grows old…

37. “Teenage Goths” – Jon DeRosa …Do you remember how we ruled/the only teenage goths in school?…
All realistic and pragmatic, but everything is possible.
No YouTube link. Here is the song.

38. “’Cello Song” – Nick Drake

39. “Don’t Drown in Sorrows” – Jakob Olausson
A Swedish thing, carrying me through the winter. Heard first on KEXP in Seattle. The DJ thought he was cool and pronounced this guy’s name like “YAY-kub” – which reminds me of a manager I used to have and his half-assed attempts at pronouncing things – he could never decide until halfway through a word whether he would say it the Norwegian or the English way, so you’d get some crap hybrid. Can’t find a link

40. “Night Will Be Dawn” – Darkness Falls
This might seem a bit dramatic and dark but … then, so is getting through the darkness of Swedish winter. With love for Roxane.

41. “Victoria” – The Fall
This version of the song will always remind me of New Zealand and Qantas – this was part of a sound program they offered about The Kinks. Rarely is a mix complete without The Fall.

42. “Do the Du” – Certain Ratio …My heart was just an open sore/which you picked at ’til it was raw/it bled away my existence/shriveled under your insistence…

43. “Flutes” – Hot Chip
Naturally all references to flutes tie in to Annette and “blowing meat flutes”. ☺ I’ll join that orchestra. There is a sound in the end of the song that sounds a lot like Skype when a call is coming in. Haha. Another good song for tram waiting and riding.

44. “Cherry” – Chromatics …Cherry/Tells me some things I don’t want to know/And I can’t see /A light at the end for us anymore…
I love the sound of this, with visions of nearing the end of the long drive between Gothenburg and rural Swedish woodland, passing a weird dot on the map called Gustavsfors that boasts not only an oddly placed German bakery but also a campground called Alcatraz.

45. “Say No to Thugs” – Lost Animal …Never get lessons in love from an angry man…
Good advice. “Don’t sweat the little things, love…”

46. “Shapeless & Gone” – Porcelain Raft …In a strange kind of way, lifeless landscapes have so much to say…
“So good to know you’re out there/So good to know you still care…”. The words people say to me over and over…

47. “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” – Stars
Many to whom I gave; got nothing in return. Not sorry but have I ever been brave enough to say so? “There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave/You were what I wanted/I gave what I gave/I’m not sorry I met you/I’m not sorry it’s over/I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save…”

48. Drown in My Own Tears” – Stevie Wonder

49. “Nice Without Mercy” – Lambchop …And the sky opens up like candy/And the wind don’t know my name…
Love the title; perfectly sums up my ongoing campaign to kill with kindness.

50. “Beautiful Son” – Peaking Lights

51. “Lord Knows” – Dum Dum Girls …I want to live a pure life/I’d say that it’s about time/Don’t judge me for the things I’ve done/To get off the only one/The bliss I’ve found in ignorance/A slow burning Icarus…

52. “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” – Nina Simone

53. “The Dark Age” – Widowspeak …We only have ourselves to blame/We had our years to play/It’s getting kind of late/Don’t know what you’re waiting for…

54. “I Wish I Had an Evil Twin” – The Magnetic Fields
“My evil twin would lie and steal/And he would stink of sex appeal/All men would writhe/Beneath his scythe/He’d send the pretty ones to me/And they would think that I was he/I’d hurt them and I’d go scot-free/I’d get no blame/And feel no shame/’Cause evil’s not my cup of tea”

55. “Shy Song” – Containe …I want you to fuck me/Like I’ve never been before…
“If you let me, I will show you a good time/I want to come over/Every day and every night…”. “I’m shy, too…”
No YouTube link. Here’s “Shy Song“.

56. “All I Want” – LCD Soundsystem …All I want is your pity/Oh all I want are your bitter tears…
A strange Echo & the Bunnymen quality to it, especially at the end. Constantly amazed that every LCD Soundsystem song sounds completely different. “Look for the girl who has put up with all of your shit/You’ve never needed anyone for so long…”

57. “So Good at Being in Trouble” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra …Memories, they mess with my mind…
“She was so good at being in trouble/So bad at being in love…”

58. “Looking for a Sign” – Beck
“If I ran across your picture/if I called you by mistake/ and if I ask someone about you/It’s a habit I can’t break/Looking out for a sign/How can I tell what’s right/Changing my ways to spite myself/Cause I still want you”

59. “Ruin” – Cat Power …Bitching, complaining when some ṗeople who ain’t got shit to eat/Bitching, moaning, so many people you know they got…
For Naomi. Even some Finns who think 1,200 EUR will last a year ain’t got shit to eat (ramen and cheap liquor!).

60. “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” – The Smiths …I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives/and now it’s happening in mine…
While it did not bother or devastate me as it did others, I became one of the masses who was downsized from a job (but already had another lined up when it happened). These lyrics, which always remind me of reading a bio of Marie Antoinette back in 1991, seemed applicable and relevant. “Time’s tide will smother you/And I will too…”

61. “Just Make It Stop” – Low …You see I’m close to the edge/I’m at the end of my rope/the rope is starting to thread/I’m trying to keep my hold/you say I’m something I’m not/but I’m not what I seem/get my back off the wall/if I could just make it stop…
Haven’t we all wanted it all to stop?

62. “Passage” – Exitmusic …Words of promise weigh down on us, settle in our bones/Once the dawn falls down upon us, I will let you go…
Unbelievable layers in which to get lost. “You’re so incredible, why can’t I touch you? Hold back decayed love and light.” For RC.

I’m coming to find you if it takes me all night – baking begins

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Soundtrack of the last two days has been a mix of stuff like The Cure’s “A Night Like This” and The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment” – as well as a few songs from The Aislers Set and The Dø. There is a melancholy and nostalgia (I think nostalgia implies melancholy).

I am going to start baking and see where it takes me. I made a plan and made a list but these lists easily get well out of hand with more than 20 things on them. Is this excessiveness necessary?

My dreams last night were weird. I was living at least some of the time in France, but nothing seemed at all like the France of reality. I spent most of my time in a cafe (that was a lot more like cafes I frequented in Iceland) that served coffee in French presses (which of course is what Americans call coffee presses… and French people call them Italian – and they ARE an Italian invention. Aussies and Kiwis call it a “coffee plunger” and Icelanders call this a “pressukanna”…). In the dream people went to this place specifically for the coffee, and then one day a law passed that forced all places to serve coffee in the same way (not French press). Another law was introduced at the same time that required all EU countries to harmonize car license plates!? I don’t know where any of this came from.

The anxiety and annoyance of the US election will finally be over on Tuesday. Hearing Mitt Romney speak just makes me sick. The latest global prosperity index knocked the US out of the top ten countries for the first time. Not surprised to hear that. Norway is number one (not surprised to hear that either), with Denmark and Sweden right behind. (And lands of plunger coffee and Anzac biscuits, Australia and NZ, round out the top five.) Not surprising in the least. Confirmation that I made the right choices about where to live and work (not that I had any doubt).