It was amid these clumps of wild flowers that I hid a few days later, nursing my broken heart, as the rest of my family cheerfully waved them goodbye and the back of the caravan swayed around a bend of the boitrin, the sound of horses hooves growing softer and softer. They called my name again and again until at last I was forced to appear and, on the state of my tear streaked cheeks being noted, a single query was made.
Afterall we all knew the cure rub the stings furiously with a bunch of dock leaves so neither of my parents investigated the real cause of my sadness and my childish one sided love affaire remained a secret.
Goes well with buttered soda bread not having any this time I have used soft goats cheese which is possibly too strong a taste for such a delicate dish. M orning coffee at my favourite place. Note my sisters encampment below and down wind from mine.
We have been coming here to camp every summer for almost 50 years now, initially as eight unruly youngsters with our parents, then as young adults, then with our children and now with our grandchildren. The majority of these rules, by my mother who, though loathe to curtail us, planned to return to Dublin at the end of the summer with all children in tow and were as follows.
Come promptly at meal times those were the days of a cooked lunch even if camping with the minimal equipment. To the watcher on the shore this was a rather bizarre act but to my dad, a lover of nature who no longer swam, it was a good way of observing the underwater world and of leaving the real world behind.
The cause of his upset? A very swanky caravan parking too near to his encampment too near being probably metres away. To add to my fathers fury at their nearness, when he finally Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD) ashore again my mother and the woman were chatting away gaily.
My Mother was correct. They were new to caravanning and as the days wore on and we became accustomed to their close proximity, we realized just how new. And my father, not a tall man, in his wellington boots and tweed jacket no matter what the weatherwould amble off totally under the spell of the tanned legged, shorts clad Barbara, to where her husband dressed in chinos and a golfing shirt, was uselessly waving a spanner or some other implement as he tried in vain to figure out the intricacies of setting up a caravan.
I must add here that it was not only my father she charmed but my mother too and they continued their friendship over many years, visiting each other regularly when back in Dublin even when it all got too much for Barbie doll and her ken-like husband and they stopped caravanning altogether.
My youngest sister is married to an Italian who has NOT accompanied her and even though I do not wish to hear the dramatic loud outbursts that seem to Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD) an Italian style marriage I can never tell if they are having a row or just discussing what to make for lunch it would have been helpful to me if he had.
You see, his coffee making skills outshine even mine and thus he could have drawn the coffee lovers over to his camp instead. Those moments when I can slide from sleep to my morning swim without even seeing let alone speaking to another human. Those moments when, with hair still wet hair from my dip, I bring my coffee to my favourite spot on the outcrop of rocks above my tent and there, with a good view of the sea below, sit on the highest rock and sip it slowly.
Despite the fact that it promises to be a warm day he is wearing a superb hand woven jacket and red trousers. His greying curly hair is covered by a black fedora-type hat which he wears low over his eyes. She on the other hand, in black leggings over which is donned a brightly coloured jersey frock. I can tell the frock is made by Gudrun Sjoden without looking at the label is hatless.
So I stand and leaving my solitude on the rock, make my way barefoot across the hare-belled carpeted grass, through the misty morning to my tent, the pair following closely. I empty the middle section of used coffee grains onto the grass and without bothering to rinse the contraption, I fill the bottom section of the pot with fresh water, put a few spoons of illy coffee into the middle section, before screwing on the top again and putting the pot on my small stove in my small tent.
As I empty out the grains onto the grass and start the procedure again the woman leans forward, takes the filled cup and hands it to her husband. When we were young we never heard or even saw a wetsuit, let alone wore one and we swam merrily in the chilly waters of the Atlantic sea in our well worn bathing togs, staying in for hours at a time. My younger sister and I used to pretend to be dolphins and we developed a technique where we half butterfly stroked, half dived as we made our way through the water mimicking the dolphins rolling motion.
Those hours in the sea have withstood us well and to this day I have no problem leaping into the sometimes wild, always cold, waters of the Atlantic for a swim.
Oh what cruelty is in us that, no matter what fear and terror we cause it and its mother who, no doubt, is watching from afar we must get a photo. The Leveret is well tuned in the art of survival. It has a trick up its sleeve and plays dead.
Not a blink of an eye or twitch of a whisker gives any indication it has noted our presence. Crouching low, I take a quick photo before we crawl away backwards delighted to have seen such a wonderful thing.
Traipsing over the undulating low grassed hills, We see hare bells, eyebright, ladies bedstraw, birdsfoot trefoil, orchids, wild thyme, and many others, all entwining in each others roots and weaving themselves into a tight carpet on the sandy soil.
Oh Just jump in! Those who are brave enough have made it to knee depth and are now nervously dipping their hands in and patting the water on thighs and upper arms. I love that solitary first swim of the day. Its my chance to meditate, to become a creature of the sea, moving purposely but causing hardly a ripple.
I wade in around them and at waist depth slide under the water. I lift my feet and float, moving with the tide. The turquoise water is crystal clear and I watch my tanned arms admiringly as they sweep in distorted circles just below the surface.
I dive deep, eyes open, small herring fry scattering before my outstretched hands and some prawns sweeping passed, brought in on the tide.
A periwinkle shell moves across the sand, stopping every now and again to get its bearings. I surface and pull a piece of the seaweed its glutinous texture makes a good moisturizer standing cautiously. I have never known such pain and I hobbled back to my camp to ring a friend who surfed in exotic places. I did as instructed and within seconds the pain had begun to abate and then it disappeared altogether.
Making my way back across the sand, I see I was not the only one slow swimming this morning. A Lions mane jellyfish lies stranded by the outgoing tide. I skirt around it and up the grassy hill to my tent. When it comes to being on a bicycle, there are those who incline to greenways and others to the open roadway. But a few of us veer towards the small stony find your own way. Grass growing in the middle-way. T hatch cottage and stone wall way. Out of the ordinary way. Getting totally lost way.
Stop and ask the locals the way. Past the old disused pump way. Clamber over the lichen covered wall way. Push your bike along the seashore way. Pass the hawthorn fashioned by the prevailing wind way. And the ancient shell midden way. Find the house of your dream way. Arrive back to where you started way. From my bed I could just make out the red shellfish dredger dangling, suspended between sea and sky and the small pier with its two idle boats.
NOT a good Landlord from all accounts. I sipped my morning coffee and considered how by sheer placement he could spy on the tenants across the bay even though he would have been better looking after his own, because this side of the bay was under the reign of a more benevolent Landlord, Redington of Clarinbridge.
Yesterday I had noted that all these objects were correctly attached to land and sea, which assured me that I and my caravan had not become adrift in some ethereal land while I lay sleeping. Despite this mist, the day had the makings of a good one and by the time I had finished that first coffee, followed by my breakfast of almond scone and coffee it had cleared.
I wish I had thought of doing that on this route. Instead here is a photographic pictorial of my wanderings by which I will instead of writing any commentary take you along. Just to say that the sprig of elderflower attached to my handle bars to protect me from punctures and getting lost only worked for the former. Thank goodness for easily slip off-able Birkenstoks. I could call my route the thatch cottage way but that would be too obvious and so with no further ado get on your bicycle and follow me!
Made from silkembroidered with little flowers and held in place by a simple strap across the arch of my foot, I thought they looked very fetching, peeking out from under my petticoat. As with my choice of clothing, some people might see such shoes as impractical for a four month journey down the west coast of Ireland on an old black raleigh bike with trailer attached, but I found them functional.
As soon as I felt the first drop of rain I could slip them off easily and put them into the shelter of my basket and then cycle on barefoot until the rain stopped. But half way through my journey I had now reached lisdoonvarna my shoes and I parted ways. I am sitting on my colorful cotton shawl in the late afternoon sun listening to Micho Russell playing solo on the tin whistle.
Beside him on stage, a woman in a gauzy dress is dancing. But apparently only me because when I glance around the rest of the audience appears spellbound. Now for some reason the organisers have decided to make a corridor of sheep fencing into the field and as we all try to get out at the same time a crush ensues. Then there are the people, who having made it unscathed to the entrance, are stopping for a chat causing further blockage.
As the crowd surges along my feet are lifted off the ground and I am carried by the sheer size of the men surrounding me, The same men who had been clapping so you can imagine the speed they are trying to move at. One of my chinese slippers falls from my foot and is immediately trampled into the mud by the people coming behind me.
A young man, seeing my dilemma, bends down, attempting to retrieve it but nearly gets his head trodden on in the process. So all he can do is shrug apologetically as I half hobble, am half carried onward once more.
Being whooshed along beside me is a worried looking woman holding a squiggling toddler. Catching hold of her sleeve, I nod to the fence and with each shove we force our way sideways towards it.
Then, hanging on to the child with one hand, I give her a quick leg over before lifting the child clear. Gathering up my skirts at the next lull, I manage to swing my leg over the fence.
I have left the brothers house after an evening of story telling and poitin drinking and getting on my bicycle to cycle home, have fallen into the ditch. The clouds part for an instant and I catch a glimpse of the stars and oh, there is the moon, almost full!
As I do so, I realize that it is not the the wind through the spokes that is whistling but the actual sound of a tin whistle. And now other instruments are joining in.
The sweet slide of a fiddle bow, the soft twang of a mandolin. The knowledge that there is a house ahead, which must surely have a road leading to it, hurries me along with renewed vigor until a row of hazel bushes block my path. As I inch my way along them in search of an opening the moon continues to skit in and out between the clouds allowing me short spurts of visibility.
In a smooth field which slopes gently up and is topped by an outcrop of rock, out of which is growing a single hawthorn tree, sit three musicians. Bent to their instruments and playing with full attention. It is the fact that a tall slim figure, whose hair is held up in place with a fine sprig of fuchsia flowers, is dancing in front of them.
Dancing with her is a handsome elderly man, and while Charlotte with her long bony legs encased in over sized wellingtons leaps like a young one, twisting and turning in time to the music, causing the fuchsia to jangle merrily, he sways more elegantly this way and that. I watch as, without missing a beat, Charlotte lets go of the hand of her present partner and beckons to Tom.
He goes forward willingly, capering and leaping with such agility that I cannot imagine this is the same man I meet, bent double, collecting sticks along the shore. The abandoned partner stands with the others looking enviously on but after a few moments it is Tom who is abandoned while Charlotte now chooses the motorcycle man.
And now another figure appears at the top of the hill. He is vaguely familiar and I try to remember where I have seen him before. Dark hair falls across his pale forehead. He is dressed in green corduroy trousers and a crimson velvet waist coat. Whistling in tune with the musicians, whom he appears to know, for he nods a greeting in their direction and the fiddler seeing him, raises his bow in a salute, he reaches the dancers and pauses to watch.
Those waiting to dance with her have a look of anticipation, while those she has finished with continue to dance but in a more sheepish fashion. Suddenly she turns and dances off down the hill, her fuchsia sprig jangling merrily and they follow her in a dishevelled line.
As though seized by some madness, I am unable to stop myself and throwing down my bike, I kick off my shoes. Without a word he puts one hand on the small of my back and with the other, takes hold of my free hand. I let go the hem of my dress and, putting my hand on his shoulder, we bounce once or twice on the spot as though to catch the rhythm of the music. My partner, though not as tall as I first imagined, is surprisingly strong and as we twirl my bare feet skim the damp grass, barely touching it.
The musicians are slightly manic in their style and constantly chop and change the rhythm and speed of the tunes as though they are testing out the ability of our feet. Again the rhythm changes and then again and faster too, until eventually we are dancing in a wild unrestrained manner. Finally he turns me once more and I am twirling helplessly on the spot, my purple frock, spinning out and away like a top.
My bike is lying next to me, its front wheel spinningmaking a murmuring noise close to my ear. I sit up dazedly, gathering up my hair which has come loose from its plait, and tie it into a swift knot on top of my head.
Noting with relief the road in front of me. I stand up and pull my bicycle upright, but its not until I actually step out onto the rough gravel that I realize my shoes are missing. They will have spotted you on your way earlier and will be watching out for you as you return home a bit the worst for wear.
One of their favourite tricks is to lead the unsuspecting human to where they are holding a party usually in a field where there is a hawthorn tree growing from a faerie fort and watch as the innocent human literally dances the legs off himself, so spellbound are they by their music. However you can confuse them by changing your appearance e. They have retained their supernatural powers and woe betide any human who crosses them.
Using the driftwood she gathered, she built it on site, on a stony beach, along the wild Atlantic way. According to folklore, this particular old hag there are others appears on Saint Brigids day to stock up on timber for the following winter.
If the next winter is going to be severe, she will ensure the day is bright and sunny to allow her put down enough wood to see her through it.
The sculpture appears effortless, as though some wild winter wind had swirled along the shore, snatching up scraps of driftwood and whipping them into the shape of a human. I love how its loose easy form sifts the flickering sunlight so that, when you look away for an instant and then back, you would swear you caught it in motion. Then, just as some stories tell how An Cailleach, when finished her work, disappears into the sea, the next day the sculpture was gone.
But what her sculpture really reminded me of was the younger of two brothers whom I got to know when I lived beside this stretch of the Atlantic way.
So, after my mornings shopping, instead of going the straight route home, I choose the long slow push up out of the village. When I reach the y junction at the coast road, I take the right fork, and freewheeling down a steep hill, brake at the bottom and turn sharply left onto an even smaller road. At first this boreen runs straight and looks as though it might actually end in the water, but, at the last moment, it turns right and runs parallel to the sea bringing me past the brothers cottage.
The Dreamhouse sits in a sheltered hollow, in front of which, the strength of the sea has pushed the shingle into the shape of a large deep pool. The house, a long, one storied traditional cottage is protected on both sides by a series of neat sheds attached at right angles to both gables. At the open side facing the sea, a small stone bridge leads over the pool at the narrow point where the river runs into it.
A field that features later on in my story. Going through this gate, I follow a well worn track which makes its way diagonally across the field to another gate which in turn, brings me out onto yet another boreen. Tom spent a good portion of his day scuttling along the beach collecting fragments of driftwood.
I say scuttling, not in a derogatory way, but because he was bent double from Kyphosis, which had worsened in old age. Now the gods had not been kind to Tom, for along with this physical disability, he also had a speech impediment which must have been very frustrating for him as he always had plenty to say. When I first met him I would pretend to understand what he was saying and nod my head every now and again, but he was shrewd and tricked me. So once I ended up, standing there, nodding my head stupidly when, what he had asked was, where my house was.
After this I listened more carefully and as time went by I began to understand him or at least get the gist of what he was saying. He talked a lot about the weather and the sea, not in the mundane fashion we are inclined to do when greeting others, but in a concerned one. Whether that march blizzard on the horizon meant he should bring in the sheep about to lamb.
How the late frost would sweeten the turnips in the ground. He told me of the time when a storm coincided with the big tide and He woke to seaweed on the kitchen floor and boulders strewn haphazardly across the yard, one even landing up against the door. A bottle of Poitin stood on the table of the brothers cottage and they placed the whiskey I had brought them carefully in the cupboard.
Tom took out a large knife from the dresser drawer and straightening up as best he could, held the bread against his chest. Then sawing towards his heart, cut slices as neat as those of the white sliced pan I spied when they were putting the bottle of whiskey away. I was given the chair nearest to the fire, and shared this shin scalding place with the old sheepdog who lay and twitched every now and again in the heat.
As he tried to describe how he walked around and around the field looking for the gate, his words ran faster and faster. He was now speaking too quickly for me to understand so Pat, the elder brother, who had everything his younger brother lacked, took over the telling of it, with Tom nodding excitedly in agreement.
Mark ye sort of and then await ye coming home, knowing you might have had a few and are easily caught and led astray. In the place it should be and the place beyond where it should. But no gate. And Tom allowed him continue, his bright eyes as blue as the sea, twinkling and sparkling with the fun of it, darting from my face to Pats and back again, hugging himself with delight, anxious for me to hear how he, instead of being fooled, had turned things on their tail and tricked the little folk instead.
I knew I had better make a move so, standing up reluctantly, and stepping carefully over the sleeping dog, I bade the brothers farewell. The latch clicked and I stood for a few moments feeling the silence and blackness settle around me. Feeling along the wall for my bicycle which I had left leaning against the gable, I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and eventually they did.
I even rang my daughters to check that they had filled buckets with water, had candles handy, had filled flasks with hot water and had bought in plenty of essential foodstuffs. So basically I am on the first day of my diet and have, no milk, butter, vegetables nor fruit.
No yogurt, cheese, pasta nor rice. What I have instead is, a half bag of flour and a bag of sugar. Nana Pepper Pot steals a story. The sugar is a bit hard and lumpy as though someone had being putting a wet teaspoon back into it, causing the grains to clump together like cement but I am grateful that it is there at all. You see, recently I experienced an episode of anaphylatic shock a few seconds into eating two soft poached eggs.
At first I thought I was having a cardiac arrest, my heart was going so fast. I felt really dizzy and was sure I was going to keel over any minute. But I said nothing, just sat clutching the table and my chest waiting for the feeling to pass.
Luckily no one noticed and after a moment or two I was able to get up and scrape the remainder of the eggs into the bin. Did I not tell you that? Coming from a large family it is not wise to be allergic to anything. Firstly, because food is too precious a commodity to miss out on any element of and secondly, if an allergy was discovered, how was a mother supposed to remember which of her eight children actually had the allergy and to what ingredient. Beating them furiously until pale and creamy, I then fold in the flour and put the lot into a cake tin and into the oven.
Fifteen minutes later I take out a beautifully risen sponge cake who said you have to sift the flour and sitting down at the table with it and a cup of tea, I open my new diary. And even though I thoroughly enjoyed the snow, I am hoping that the Red Alert will be lifted and the shops and my abode filled with tuna, tomato, cottage cheese and lettuce.
DublinGrannykind deedsNursespraisered capeSpringthe aircoachthe patton flyerthe yellow bicyclewind and rainwork. One could easily compare the yellow bicycle to a sort of magic carpet because o nce I take off on her, any adventure or good deed I have or do, is out of my control. The weather is dreadful, visibility poor because of the rain and the wind is so strong I am struggling, head bent against it.
He is also struggling with a large wheely suitcase. Ahead, The Patton flyer, the small bus that ran this route to the airport before the days of the present day Aircoach is pulling away from the bus stop. As a user of this service I understand the predicament he is in.
This small bus only runs every hour on the hour and missing it probably will probably also mean missing his flight, unless of course he can afford to hail a taxi. For a moment I am tempted to pretend I said nothing and just keep going to work but the yellow bicycle has other ideas and I find myself cycling faster.
As luck would have it, there is a set of traffic lights a few meters beyond the bus stop and these lights turn red.
He glances sideways, his eyes widening in horror as he looks at the apparition staring in at him. He is nearly having a heart attack trying to catch you. To my surprise the driver smiles and nods and as the lights turn green, he pulls over to the pavement. Sadly the Patton flyer is no more. Some bureaucratic problem with a licence caused it to be taken off the road. I have always been slightly eclectic in what I wear and have no intention in changing just because I like to go about on a bicycle.
The incident I am about to tell you of, might well be the underlying reason for my longing to be different. One day when I was about eight years of age my mother took my siblings and I into town on the bus. It was no easy task to bring six children into Dublin city center in those days on public transport. Not that it is any easier today but at least now you can check on your phone as to what time the next bus will arrive at.
Anyway as she was ushering us all into Clearys department store, I received a sharp slap across the cheek. The owner of the hand that slapped me belonged to a man, who then proceeded to grab me by the arm and I was instantly absorbed into a large family going in the opposite direction.
She caught me by my other arm and pulled me safely back into her fold. My mother instinctively understood the mishap and feeling pity for him stopped long enough to listen to his story, while we took the opportunity to play merry -go-round in the large revolving glass entrance door. I was traumatised by the event. For example, when it was my turn to set the table, I would put my knife on my left hand side and my fork on my right.
Just the other day my daughters and I were laughing about the oddities of dress code they followed in their teens. It was more the sort of face that invited people to tell their woes to. It is summer and I am on the dart home after a thirteen hour shift at the hospital. Exhausted, not just physically but mentally too.
But at last I am cycling madly along the Merrion road and arrive in one piece at the dart station just in time for the train. She goes on to tell me that she has just recently bought a house in Salthill Galway to be near her newly married daughter, not realising her daughter had been planning to move back to Dublin. She looks at me as she pauses for a breath and for one dreadful minute I think she might ask if she can stay with me.
She picks up her designer bag and hoists it onto one shoulder. Her hair is impeccably groomed. Her outfit glamorous. I watch her disappear through the turnstile then practice pulling mean faces at my reflection in the window. I am still waiting to have my home back, but more than that the yellow bike is still standing patiently on the balcony. So, what could Nanny Pepper Pot do for exercise when she is not riding her yellow bicycle? I love that travelling on a bicycle allows me to be open to the elements and that from my saddle, I can get the sensation of my surroundings.
The smells of the hawthorn, honey suckle, dog roses can easily assail me as I sail by them. The sounds of the sea or running water can tickle my ears. The wind in my hair. I love that cycling moves me at a speed faster than walking but still slow enough to allow me look at the passing scenery and stop easily whenever something small needing closer examination catches my eye.
I also realise that sailing along upon my lofty saddle, marginally higher above the ground than if I was on my feet, is probably the nearest I will ever get to flying. It was a very realistic dream and when I woke from it I could still remember the sensation of being airborne.
It was the best flight an awkward solid boned wingless creature who should remain earthbound could manage. When I felt I had built up enough pressure, I would move my arms and hands faster and launch myself off the chair. I tried to explain it to a friend once and she excitedly told me that she too had dreams about flying. The kind where she soared effortlessly like a bird over the mountains and sea.
I catch one corner and zigzag it in front of me in a sort of traditional silk ribbon dance way, its tail following my hand obediently. I rotate my arm in large circles, standing on tip toe, swirling the delicate piece around and around until it becomes a swirling circle. They are white snakes chasing their tails and at last I throw them high and two delicate doves float gently to the ground. My youngest grandson, and partly the reason why my yellow bicycle is still on the balcony, has been in my bedroom for a while.
Yes, at two years of age he has figured out the workings of this complex old fashioned machine and surprises me every day with his eclectic choice. We could start the day listening to something as cool as JJ Cale or Santana and by lunch time we might be on to Puccini. To me there is no rational to his choice of material but he knows what he likes and though too young to read the labels will listen to a few strains first before deciding whether to let it play on or whether he will press the reject button.
But before I get a chance to do so, he comes running into me with some large pieces of white tissue paper he has found in a box. Then not content with just throwing he starts to run with them floating out behind in time to the music and so the tissue dance is born. We watch as throwing the tissue high, he twists beneath it and blowing with all his might keeps the paper afloat.
But what ever it is called it has given me hours of fun and exercise almost akin to riding my bicycle. Sometimes its only when something is taken away and then given back that we really appreciate it. Until my daughter and family moved in that is, while their home was being renovated. And as they filled my place with themselves, a child and dog and all the accoutrements that goes with a family of that number, I realised just how small it was and I feared for my sanity.
This family upheaval reminded me of the old story which I have stolen and put my own twist on…. Now though Nana had loved many times and moved many times and lived in many places of many sizes, she finally ended up living on her own in a small apartment by the sea. She loved to write and paint and now could do so without interference, spreading her paints and writing equipment far and wide across the kitchen table and leaving them there for days on end if she so pleased.
And even though she could skip seven steps from one sitting room wall before arriving at the other. And even though she could jump ten leaps from the kitchen before she arrived at the tall panes of glass that slid open to allow her onto her balcony. On which she liked to spend her summer evenings, with a glass of wine, sitting hidden among her runner bean plants, gazing across at the mountain.
And though she had a separate bedroom, with a high wide bed in which she could lie and through the window, look across at that same mountain. And though she noted how her friends were able to put on their coats and get past each other to reach their shoes, without stepping on each others toes, she just felt if ONLY she had more space. And though wise, it never occurred to her that she could have taken on a more exotic name for herself, one that would suit her new station in life!
She also dabbled in cures, which if truth be told rarely worked, but the locals continued to come with their ailments as they knew it was in-vogue to be seen attending a healer, and no one wanted to appear to the other as odd. So it was a common sight to see the wise woman stumbling across the mountain in her long robes and hessian sack, picking wild herbs for her potions. She takes another sip before hiding the still half full bottle in the folds of her flowing purple garments.
When she looks again she sees the yellow thing, possibly a bicycle, leaning against the gate from which the path up the mountain led. After a good twenty minutes, during which, she thinks grumpily, she could have easily finished her beer, a woman appears over the brow of the hill.
And Nana throws herself down on the grass in front of the wise woman, blowing her fringe off her hot forehead and sighing. She always imagined that they should walk slowly towards her, hands clasped, eyes lowered in reverence. My clients are able to approach with respect! I would gladly give up my clients lack of reverence in return for not being caught on the hop!
But now she takes a deep cleansing breath and putting that memory and her friends nasty reply aside, turns to the red faced woman lying on the grass in front of her. And Nana remembering who she is visiting, scrambles to her knees and bowing low clasps her hands in front of her chest and explains her problem.
Unlike the yellow bicycle which I keep by the fire, the purple one it lives on my balcony. A week later, the wise woman sees the yellow bicycle approaching again, but this time she enjoys her beer a while longer before once again hiding it easily, just as Nana appears. Nana, when she appears over the brow of the hill, looks so tired and tearful that the wise woman, who, unlike her friend, is actually really quite kind, has to stop herself offering Nana one of her bottles of beer.
Her bed is taking up a lot of space and every night I step in her water bowl when I get out of bed to pee. She also wishes she could take one gulp of the now warm bottle of beer hidden as usual in her garments just to sooth her nerves.
This gives the wise woman an idea and just as she is about to enquire if Nana knows anyone who owns a cat, Nana throws herself onto the grass and continues with a loud wail. The following week the Nana appears unexpectedly and the wise woman barely manages to hide her bottle in time. I had to walk all the way. She is actually looking forward to the long walk home, so dreading is she at the thought of trying to squeeze herself into her over crowded apartment.
A week later the wise woman smiles to herself and quickly tucks the just sipped at bottle into the folds of her garments. Due to the circumstances I am about to describe, the yellow bicycle has been removed from her usual place by the fire when not in travel mode she forms a means of drying clothes and now stands on my balcony at the mercy of the elements. As I sit writing I can see her gazing dolefully across at sugar loaf, whilst also managing to cast baleful glances through the window at me.
At first the plan was that they would be able to live in the house except for a day or two when the new floors were being laid as they would both be at work during the week. But a few days before the job is due to finish they realise how dangerously dusty it has become and they set about looking for somewhere to stay in the interim.
It makes more sense that I move out and stay somewhere and let them have my small one bed-roomed abode. A working couple need their office clothes and leisure clothes, night wear, hygiene stuff. Time marches on. Another building delay. The few days turns into a week and another week and they are still here. And if you should meet that daughter she is most likely to have a sweeping brush in hand.
Been caught with accoutrements of tidiness can lower your score because it does not give an accurate reading. Now the bedrooms in our house were utilitarian. My father, an architect, was ahead of his time where interior decor was involved. So while my friends bedrooms sported fake velvet headboards, chintzy bedspreads, dizzymaking carpets of multicoloured floral patterns and those kidney shaped dressing table with a three sided mirror, Not encouraged to gaze at ourselves we had no mirror in bedroom ours consisted of homemade bunk beds designed to leave as much floor space free as possible, a sleek built in wardrobe and ….
So ashamed was I of my minimalist room, that whenever I had a friend over, I would haul one of the beautiful mahogany bespoke chairs down from the open plan dining room and place it beside my bed to give the semblance of extra furniture. The wooden floors were solid oak. As I lay awake in the semi dark did we even have curtains? The more I stared the eviler they became until at last, unable to bear them any longer, I would creep from under my warm covers into the cold why would you even consider that we might have central heating and move them around.
One of my favourite pleasures in life is a deep bath followed by a climb into a soft bed bedecked with fresh sheets. And with some of her friends planning to stay at our house, she sets about making up spare beds for them. I overhear this conversation while munching on toast and marmalade from the depths of my very soft bed.
As my sisters footsteps gets louder oh those bare floorboards I slide slowly and guiltily, lowering my self under the warmth of my blankets, creasing the many layers of sheets as I do so. Not only is my plate of crusts and crumb covered top sheet visible to the public but the twenty something under sheets as well. On going out to buy one, she passed an art gallery and popped inside just for a quick look she told us later. She emerged after a while and nestled in her purse where the washing machine money should have been, was a receipt for an original Gerard Dillon or it may have been the T P Flanagan, to be delivered to the house the next day.
Sunday, December 6, Dave Brubeck, He even played with trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis once brother of some guy named Wynton. Now I don't pretend to be capable of understanding all of his contributions, as I am only a casual jazz fan, but I do know that his then-controversial but now-legendary album Time Out regularly finds its way into my playlist.
Friday, December 4, Tweeting Twits and Dissidents. Preface : I am still not on Twitter. Fight the power! Obviously, Twitter and Facebook have had enormous impacts on our way of life, but those impacts reach far beyond self-expression or narcissism? The Iranian government attempted to block access to Facebook to its citizensabout a third of which had internet access, but to no avail.
The U. State Department even asked Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance of the site so that the dissent would not be quelled.
Twitter to the rescueas a vehicle of freedom of speech to the oppressed? But, for every rose, a thorn. Or many thorns. Social networking, you could argue, has its abusers. Example: then-Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva was busted last season for Twittering during halftime of a game against the Celtics, and was told to cease and desist. By the way, they won in a sizable upset Even if it is utterly false, she can at least say that, right? I mean, everyone has the right to free speech, and false facts and strong opinions don't have a limit in a social environment like Facebook.
Even if I do disagree with some of the assertions made on Facebook, I'm glad those people can express them freely. So where do you draw the line? This is what the legal system has to decide, I suppose. But before they do, the Next Big Thing will probably already be emerging. Thus, the cycle continues.
Wow, that was pretty stupid. Tuesday, December 1, Winspear 1. My first attempt at being a wanna-be iPhone photographer: Click the pic to enlarge. More pictures soon, if I feel like it. Posted by Josh at PM 1 comment:.
It's true. And I don't mean that in the good-natured, facetious way those Microsoft Windows 7 ads are using. I've thought for a few years now that by the next generation, the way in which computers are used will be vastly different. During the last decade, the need for mobile computing has steadily skyrocketed. Not only has it been necessitated by the ever-increasing speed and demands of the business world; it's also become trendy to take your MacBook into a local coffee shop.
And when you're doing stuff on your computer -- business or pleasure -- you need access to whatever it is you're doing. Could be a project for work, a personal budget, or whatever. Not to mention keeping your entire iTunes library on hand to keep you sane while you work on said project. Inevitably, you'll end up splitting this work and pleasure on multiple computers, creating the need to share files across your computers. While flash drives and home networking and such are, for now, making this easier, it's only a stopgap measure: eventually it'd be really nice if you could easily get to your stuff whenever you wanted to from anywhere, right?
Some applications already work this way. Online banking, for instance. And as time passes, more of the information you care about will be out there floating around on the internet, not on your hard drives.
Thus, you'll only need your computers to gain access to the internet, which can store all of your data and information, as well as the tools necessary to interact with that data and information. We'll end up with "terminal machines" that are available pretty much anywhere for use by anybody. A side effect will be that the need for large amounts of local storage i.
In college, every student typically has an account provided by the institution that serves some of this function. Imagine if this concept was extended to the general public. That's where I think we're headed. Now then, back to that outrageous claim in my blog title.
Google seems to have embraced the idea that the internet will soon be all you really need to function, so they've created an operating system that supports this philosophy: Google Chrome OS, a Linux-based, open-source OS in which everything runs exclusively inside Google's web browser which, by the way, is really fast and awesome, and is currently available for download if you're a Windows user.
I think I'll let the guys at Google explain it: Slated for availability in lateChrome OS will run on netbooks whose hardware is specifically designed to support it. One feature: smaller and flash memory-based hard drive. Most data will be stored on the internet, remember. If this idea does in fact catch on, I think it'll be pretty gradual. First you'll see people just doing basic tasks like checking e-mail, blogging, etc, on these web-based machines.
But before you know it, you'll be using it for everything, including resource-intensive applications. Only time will tell just how wrong I am. I currently have 8 Google Wave invitations.
If you want one, e-mail me. Another one of those hidden gems from the samplers I get with every issue of Paste Magazine. Led by Davy Knowles who at age 23 is younger than me, making me feel old and unaccomplished Check back later. Alls I know is that the first 10 seconds make me really want a bass guitar. Very accurate, although I personally would give the Ninja Turtle Raphael a little more love. Tuesday, November 17, Yes We Can.
For the last 17 years, Canstruction has been a gem among gems when it comes to charity projects. Teams of architects, engineers, and students mentored by these professionals compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. It takes weeks and thousands of cans of food to create a structure. And it not only looks cool: every last can goes to a food charity.
A lot cooler than just bringing non-perishable foods in a brown paper bag Every year since my brother moved to New York, his firm Platt Byard Dovell White Architects has been crowned for its creativity, after pulling all-nighters to piece the work together can by can.
This year was no exception, with a trio of 'shrooms straight out of Super Mario 64 taking the blue ribbon for "Best Structural Ingenuity": Kudos, broseph. More Canstruction projects can be found on this Gothamist post. For Now. The Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns stand atop the Eastern and Western Conferencerespectively, with 8 wins and only 1 loss as of pm today Phoenix and LA are playing as I type.
The New Jersey Nets are the Least in the East, and Minnesota and Memphis have pretty much picked up where they left off last year at the bottom of the West, each mustering only 1 win in 9 games. My boy Stevie Nash is benefiting from a return to the uptempo, Greatest-Show-On-Hardwood style now that the Shaqtus is out of town, dishing out more dimes than a cheap Shreveport casino.
And the biggest surprise in my opinion: LeBron James is nowhere to be found in the top 5 of any major statistical category points, rebounds, assists, steals. BUT his Cavs are If you have watched even three minutes of ESPN in the last six months, you have heard about the free agent class ofwhen so many big names will be available for signage. Naturally, the richest markets would get the best shot at the best prospects, so it only makes sense that the biggest name in the game would land in the biggest market in professional sports, right?
It makes sense in lots of ways. But do you really think he can win in Madison Square Garden? At least not as appealing as some of the other choices out there, including just staying put in Cleveland. Marc Stein wrote on this topic last weekend, and suggested that landing in Miami with Dwyane Wade could happen. But of course, the name that caught my attention was, you guessed it, my Dallas Mavericks. Plus, he has lots of love for the Cowboys, allegedly even more so than he does for his Yankees.
And those lobs to Shawn Marion and Erick Dampier are looking better each game. John Stockton stole from the rich and gave to the, well, rich. All this talk about career statistics and all-time lists reminds me Way at the top.
Check it: 3, steals vs. Pretty amazing stuff. Not like today Andre Iguodala is channeling his inner Julius Erving. I have no real evidence for this. But who knows, maybe they catch lightning in a bottle, like Golden State did in ? They could finish ahead of Houston, Utah, and New Orleans if everything falls right. The potential is SO there. Erick Dampier is playing his best basketball. Terry is passing and defending better than he ever has in a Mavs uniform. Drew Gooden looks lost and jacks up a foot leaner every time he touches the ball.
Kind of like the Cowboys. Monday, November 9, Welcome to Heaven. Thank you, Non Sequiturfor consistently being the best comic in newspapers today. Although Pearls Before Swine has its moments and is a close second So is 15 JoshCasts enough to release a CD? First million, here I come. And that's just with Volume It's one of the more mysterious songs I've heard in my day, both the lyrics and the texture of the music, and I can't seem to stop listening to it.
Plus, one day before I die, I really do want to chase me some twisters. It's kinda funny what random things make you realize that the times, they are a-changin'. Today's the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street", and this CNN article can't help but notice how the show and its characters have evolved: "Cookie Monster used to become so overwhelmed by his desire for cookies that he'd start seeing cookies that weren't actually there.
Today, Cookie Monster's diet is much more balanced, as he has adopted the philosophy that cookies are a 'sometimes food'. Cookie coincidentally changed his tune in amidst reports that childhood obesity had reached epidemic proportions. Is it worth sacrificing the essence of the character?
Coffee Break Machine? Tuesday, November 3, Inverse. Well, at least act like it I got to thinking that's trouble about how one concept is applicable to all of these realms. One step further, if you take a number, do something to it like add onethen do the opposite to it with the same value like subtract oneyou end up with what you started with. This idea can be generalized to all sorts of stuff.
But this is not necessarily the case: languages are not as clear cut as logic and math. Using Google Translate to do the gruntwork, it will translate any phrase you wish into Japanese, and then back to English. This write-up on TechCrunch. There's a disconnect here. The laws of logic and software don't mesh with the laws of language. If they did, these translations would be seamless and unambiguous. But there's an interpretive side that logic just can't grasp. I just blew your mind.
Posted by Josh at PM 6 comments:. Labels: Runaway Philosophizing. The pop is dialed way back here and makes way for the likes of "I Don't Trust Myself", which sounds more like a modern blues song, or "Gravity", with its excellently nerdy choice of a scapegoat.
And of course "Vultures". This is the album I was hoping from Mayer all along. It feels like what he wanted too, but he just needed some distance from being confused as just some pop heartthrob.
Hard when the ladies are throwing their money and themselves at you. Canned Heat - Jamiroquai. I'd guess that most people think of this scene from Napoleon Dynamite when they hear this song. I personally didn't find that movie nearly as funny as everyone else seemed to, so that association never formed for me. I had already long ago filed Jamiroquai and this song filed under "awesome".
It's time for CES, and I've decided to hitch along with some coworkers for their trip to Vegas to work the booth. This is at the same time as the launch of Windows Vista, and there's a corresponding party at some club at Caesar's. Naturally, we go. He has a knack for being able to play completely un-danceable songs and make them awesome without compromising their familiarity.
I keep trying to get another drink from the open bar, but find myself pulled back to the dance floor by mix after awesome mix. Despite the talent on display this is of course a party with too many geeks and not enough dancing. I decide that we need more Jamiroquai. But of course it's loud and verbally communicating a request to the DJ is not possible. I improvise, type "Canned Heat" into my phone and hold it up for him to see. He sees it, nods, and shortly thereafter makes it happen.
When the song comes on the dance floor gets a surge of new energy. It implants this idea in my head that "Canned Heat" is a song with magical powers. This is an idea that has yet to fail me; the song somehow always delivers. It took me some time to realize that this is probably mostly related to that scene from Napoleon Dynamite. Which is a bit disappointing for me, but whatever it takes to get the bodies dancing.
I remember having a rather vivid, deeply sad dream with this song as the soundtrack. I don't think my dreams generally have soundtracks, but this one did. I hear the song now, and my breathing instinctively slows. It's so sad, and so beautiful. Thankfully I know that I don't process lyrics well enough for that dream to actually be about what the song is about.
I can pick up on emotion, and melody, but lyrical comprehension is not my strong point. Jessica got this album as a recommendation off of the radio. And I'm glad, because it's a solid album through and through.
There's some blend of folksy and groovy happening on it, and I dig it. There are lots of songs I could pick from this album. I was deeply considering "Summertime Thing", with its heartfelt nostalgia. Or the sweet album send-off that is "Old Friends". While we were playing games Rob put this on and introduced it as "Swedish Daft Punk". Well, they're technically Norwegian, but I guess that's close enough.
It's a softer sound that Daft Punk for sure, but I could see what he was getting at. He burned me a sampler disc which I know now as a subset of Melody A. It's odd when someone pre-filters an album for you. Because later you can come across the album in full and become curious about those unexplored tracks between. Are they undiscovered treasures, or awful that you were mercifully spared from? Do you trust your friend's taste or not? I general I think Rob pulled out the high notes, but he maybe didn't need to filter so heavily.
But it's all good, it just gave me some b-sides to search for later. Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan. This odd little game came out that required a plastic guitar as a controller.
I didn't even technically own a PS2 of my own, but I bought a copy of Guitar Hero because it was just so damned awesome. Sure it wasn't playing a real guitar, but it was still freaking cool. Much cooler than bongos. I was already quite familiar with this song, but playing it in the game was an entirely new experience.
Stevie Ray was far out of my range on a real guitar and it's not as if I'd picked one up in years anywaybut in the game I could incrementally close that gap. A false sense of accomplishment maybe, but it didn't feel like it. Striving to keep up with Stevie felt deeply satisfying. Gamer me and musician me were finding some common middle ground. Goldfrapp rocks my face. After listening to them I'm always left wondering why I don't listen to them more often.
Great super-danceable grooves, gritty electronic elements, sultry vocals. There are so many totally ass-kicking-ly awesome tracks to choose from. How is it that I keep forgetting to come back to them? What's wrong with me? Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye. I don't know what inspired Jessica to start delving into a album all of the sudden inbut she did. It was less of a discovery of Marvin Gaye and more of a rediscovery.
Makes me wanna holler Love and Happiness - Al Green. I think she did this specifically to confuse me. They sound very different to me now, but at the time I was very mixed up.
However Marvin Gaye is the one with the thoughtful social commentary, while Al Green is the Reverend. It was a bit disorienting. But ever since I'm prone to, as Morphine put it, "put the Al Green on". You really can't go wrong. Everybody wins. Music games. They're a huge thing now or maybe a huge thing that's jumped the shark a bitbut not so long ago they were new and niche. I remember Ben first bringing around Karaoke Revolution to our gaming gatherings. His idea was simple: he wanted to get better at singing, and a game seemed like a great feedback mechanism to make that happen.
The idea of a game judging your musical ability was still a novel idea back then. So we played this game, and soon it became clear that non-gamer people were interested in this too.
Even, gasp, girls. Fast forward to the sequel, and we have a growing crowd of people. But no one has the balls to tackle this song. Until Rand does. And he fucking nails it. He committed, he delivered, and it was awesome. For years I was waiting for this song to make it to Rock Band. It always seemed like an obvious pick. Fun and challenging vocals, rocking guitars, and of course a big cup of awesome flair.
I mean, have you seen the video? One of the best ever. Anyway, someone had once figured out the rights to get this song into a music game, so what was the hold up? I did eventually get my wish, although only a year ago. I'm still waiting for someone to really step it up and deliver the vocals Habanera - Carmen Donkey Konga.
Okay, so no orchestral recording of this song is going to accurately represent how this song exists in my head. Thankfully bored people on the internet exist to archive this stuff for me. So, somehow this crazy Gamecube game that came with a plastic bongo controller made it stateside. The track selection was… well… I'd be generous even calling it "uneven".
But beating drums to music is pretty much fun no matter what. Even if they're fake drums, and even if the music is often terrible. By the time Donkey Konga 2 came around we had a setup with a TV and two bongo controllers at work.
When the mood was right at the end of the day we'd have some drinks, bang some bongos, and have an all awesome time. Oddly enough, this song was the best one. So many times Jon and I would be scrolling through the track list, pondering, and just end up back on Habanera. It makes zero sense until you've actually drummed along to it. Beck, you're not so sad anymore are you?
You've had years to heal that broken heart, and as a result you were able to give birth to Guero. Which I like to believe is so much better for the heartbreak that preceded it. This song… yum. It's a foot stomping, snappin', can't help but bob your head kind of a groove-a-long. A minimalistic triumph. I actually first hit this album via the GameBoy Variations remix.
Okay, it's not all proper chip tune mixes, but the thought is still there. I actually prefer the remix version of "Hell Yes" to the album version. The "Girl" remix is also pretty rad. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie. I remember listening to this song, lying face-up on the floor of the townhouse we lived in at the time. Jessica had put on this album on and it was this song that first stood out to me.
Which is saying something, because the song is pretty deep into the album, and there are a lot of great songs that come before it. But it was the one that operated on the wavelength I needed. I think the reason for that is that this song isn't as concerned with being, well, a song. It finds a space, and then it spends some time just existing there.
Building without building. I can see myself lying there on the floor, listening, and then really starting to feel it as the song enters its latter half of pure jam. Then at the vocals come on in this lifting way that's perfectly justified and made more powerful by what preceded them. And then of course it just expertly blends into the next track.
Album planning for the win. Once my ear was cocked, I delved into Death Cab pretty deeply, and they quickly became a favorite. This was the bridge. Catch Me - Supreme Beings of Leisure.
I discovered Supreme Beings of Leisure in a bit of a roundabout way. I got the Animatrix DVD as a gift. I want to say that the soundtrack came with it, but it's possible I just followed up and checked it out later.
Doesn't matter. There were a couple interesting tracks on it, but the one that matters here is called "Under the Gun" by Supreme Beings of Leisure. I enjoyed it, but didn't immediately dig deeper. It took hearing the name a second time, from Francis if I recall, to lead me to Divine Operating System. And with that came many things, but especially the excellent James Bond anthem that never was: "Catch Me".
This band is one sexy, classy act. Ambient chill background music, it's a thing. Here is some more. But there's a bit of a story to go with this one. I remember hearing about this band on the pilot episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. For those first couple episodes they had some other dude sitting in the questionable "culture" seat.
I remember him riffling through the subject's CD collection and criticizing it. Making fun of a dude's clothes and lame bachelor apartment is one thing, but it's something else entirely to hate on their music. Sure, I think some music is less than worthy; not all of it is good. But it's ridiculous to think that you can take someone's entire music history, dump it in the trash, and replace it with something hip.
They can't un-experience all of that. Maybe other people don't have the emotional nostalgic connection to music that I do, but I can't imagine completely changing my music tastes overnight.
I mean, that's why I'm doing this whole thing - I consider music to be part of my identity. Anyway, the culture guy had the subject put on this Zero 7 album in the background during his date. It's odd how despite my negative reaction to the whole scene I actually looked up the album. The thing is, it's not the music recommendation that I found repulsive; it was the request that the subject also throw out their pass.
Panther Dash - The Go! This is something that my officemate Krishna brought to my attention. We would close our door, crank up the volume, and groove to Go Team. The entire album sounds like it was duct-taped together in a basement with bargain bin recording equipment. But there's so much energy in the music that it doesn't matter. Actually, I prefer it this way. It's raw. The only downside is that this makes it incredibly difficult to insert into a mix with more-produced music.
I mean, this whole album is bat shit crazy. It's got this bizarre backbone of cheerleading chants. Mix that with funk, and pop, and hip hop. And a harmonica. And trashcan drums. And a string section. How did I get this huge grin on my face? The sort of raw delight that this music can induce is probably why they decided to use "Get It Together" as the theme for the adorable Little Big Planet. Which is a good pairing. But despite that huge marketing association Go Team always takes me back to those times with in that office with Krishna.
Sure Thing - Saint Germain. Okay, one more ambient track before we move on. Groovy, bluesy, relaxed, repetitive. Good for programming and parties.
I like it, partially because of the fact that it doesn't tax my brain. Undress Me Now - Morcheeba. Jessica finally made it out to a Morcheeba show, at the Moore.
It was around the release of their album Charangobut I remember that we hadn't heard it. Either it wasn't out, or we hadn't picked it up yet, I can't remember which. What I definitely remember is that it was very fortunate that we caught this show. Shortly after the band split ways with the lead singer, Skye Edwards, in pretty much the Worst Idea Ever. I don't care if you have artistic differences and are miserable, it's your job to suffer through that and keep bringing me more music.
I have needs. I remember her singing this song at the show. She was entirely wrapped up in the performance. When the song was over it was as if she woke up and just then realized what she had been singing.
Suddenly she had returned to earth and was blushing and embarrassed. It was adorable. There's something special about The Postal Service.
The way the electronic elements blend with Ben Gibbard's vocals is so… something. It sounds nostalgic to me now, but I'm pretty sure it always has. I remember listening to this album while playing Halo with the boys Alex, Ben, and Rob. It doesn't seem like the most obvious pairing, but there's something about the genesis of this music that Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD) so well for a bunch of programmers playing video games.
I think it was actually in response to Daft Punk, and it was probably two years earlier, but I distinctly remember a car conversation with Rob where he made a critical connection for me. Our generation grew up with Nintendo. The only way to communicate music on this hardware was with glorified bleeps and bloops. What the musicians of the time were able to accomplish with this was actually pretty incredible, but the important point is that we as kids were absorbing this new kind of music slowly, and in an enjoyable context.
Those seeds laid dormant for years and years and eventually blossomed into brain receptors that were attuned to things like The Postal Service or Daft Punk.
We had never thought of ourselves as being listeners of electronic music, but without knowing it we had been prepared for this since childhood. I adore this album.
I've heard it countless times, and it still totally works. It's simple, and joyful, and just lovely. Except for the last track. I recommend erasing it from existence. I Know You Pt. III - Morphine. Back when I was in college I used Napster to fuel my music discovery. There wasn't much barrier to trying something new.
Then they shut down Napster and that all became hard again. People still did it with torrents and such, but at this point I had a job and a paycheck and didn't feel comfortable stealing music off the internet. Music is important to me, and when I find something I like I don't have a problem paying for it. But in this legitimate world how do you discover new music? Into this situation was born the music subscription. Pay a fixed fee for access to all the music you want.
I started doing this when Napster relaunched as a service, and I've been doing it ever since although now with Zune. Under this system there's absolutely nothing getting in the way of finding new music, which is how it should be.
Another aspect of this newfound access is that I could dig into my back catalog of artists. Despite my love of Morphine I hadn't really had a chance to listen to their older albums.
As soon as I hooked up to the music subscription fire hose I was able to check out everything else they had ever put out. This song is off of Like Swimmingand it's amazing.
It's so deep and dirty. I love how it rolls into the chorus with those paired sax hits. It's sexy, sultry, and oh so good. Chicago - Groove Armada. Through work I got on the Halo 2 multiplayer beta. I had played my fair share of local LAN multiplayer on the first Halo. In the sequel they were doing some pretty revolutionary stuff with how they brought this online, and that's what I was supposed to be testing. What does this have to do with music? I had a Napster app on the PC that let me stream pretty much whatever I wanted.
I figured out a workable setup where I could get the audio from that in addition to the audio and video from the Xbox. I set this up right around the time I got on that multiplayer beta, so the whole time I was playing I could listen to music.
This song Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD) completely linked to the "Ivory Tower" map from that game. As it grooves along I can see myself running around in that space. The song and the environment and the game just all fit together for me. It's one of those crazy tight links that I keep talking about here - personal but undeniable.
Beck went through a serious breakup, and he wrote an album. There is no denying the impact of one on the other. Gone is the manic spread of tunes from the previous albums. In their place is solid cohesive songwriting. This is the ultimate breakup album. Thankfully you don't need to be going through epic heartbreak to appreciate it. This song is probably one of the least depressing of the lot. I mean, it sounds borderline uplifting. Tonally, not lyrically, that is. The whole album is a pit of crushingly depressing lyrics.
So it feels a little odd to single it out this song, a relative outlier, to represent the album. But it's just so damned good I can't bring myself to put anything else in its place.
I apparently get off on depressing music. Too much happiness and I start to get suspicious. So naturally I love this album. Teardrop - Massive Attack. Apparently most people know this song as the instrumental intro theme for House. Yeah… no. I can't even imagine this song without the vocals. I mean, I've seen House. I just get disoriented and keep waiting for the rest of the song to kick in. As great as the song is, I'm putting it on here for the album as a whole.
It was a recommendation to me by Francis. Jessica was very confused when I mentioned this, because she already owned the album. Had for years. And somehow I'd missed the whole business. This song is a fantastic album opener. It starts out sparse and gentle, slowly adding elements. It feels like waking and opening up to the day.
It takes a full minute to put it all Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD), but even then it doesn't overpower. It's relaxed. The thing I love about this song is how it comes out of the bridge at Restraint, horns, and then the wall of sound hits. It gets me every time. I've already gone over my introduction to John Mayer. I felt some betrayal at the overproduced Room for Squares.
Plus I could do without Mayer's pop crush image. Jessica and I went to a concert of his at the Paramount and were overwhelmed by the large number of swooning young girls. Mayer was too, apparently, and openly mocked them from the stage. Sadly it seemed to go over their heads. They weren't so into his jazzy instrumental indulgences with balding accompanists; they just wanted to hear how their bodies were wonderlands. Heavier Things was still pretty poppy, but less so than Room for Squares.
This thankfully proved to be a positive trend that would continue with the following albums. Lebanese Blond - Thievery Corporation. I think Jessica and I first came across this via some sort of compilation. There's definitely a fusion of a wide range of elements happening here. Latin, Indian, African… the album just kind of stirs them altogether into some sort of super chill soup. Because of that it's hard to develop strong opinions about any track in particular.
The whole experience is rather ambient. Not really challenging, just there and… listenable. It feels weird to punctuate this list with music that feels a bit like filler to me. But it's what I was listening to at the time.
I think I needed some ambient filler. As I mentioned before, that sort of music is of particular use to us programmers. Sometimes you need music that doesn't make you think, but keeps you driving forward. Epoca - Gotan Project. This is such a lovely blend of old and new. Tango music met electronica, Drifting Away - Die Herren (2) - Egne Numre (CD) a beautiful thing was born.
But I don't know if I have more to say about it than that. Yes, it grooves, it moves, it's hip It fills a certain kind of need. Party music. I - G.
The first time I heard G. Love I wasn't ready for it. Despite the title Yeah, It's That Easy was not an easy album to relax into. I know that Jessica tried to start me on "Willow Tree", but I didn't connect with that song. She was trying to pick a track with fewer of the hip-hop elements. It took some warming up, but I did eventually fall for G.
It wasn't a vocal style I was accustomed too, and at first it sounded abrasive. But over time I could really feel how much fun they were having with the music and I started having fun too.
After some deliberation I chose "I" to represent my entry point into G. But it was hard, because this album is all over the place. This song does a good job of introducing a number of the musical styles without overwhelming you.
It's got the rhythmic vocals, but also the dude harmonies, and a general overall playfulness. It was part of the bridge I needed to get into the album, and the band in general.
Reckoning - Ani Difranco. Ah, at last an Ani album to fit in with the rest of what Jessica and I were listening to. This one has such a strong point of a view, a deliberate feeling. The horns. Oh my god the horns. When they come in it completely changes the character of the song. It jumps from melancholy to uplifting immediately. The guitar and vocals sound cold and alone in the beginning, but there's this undeniable warmth that the horns bring that transforms everything at Those parts later where the horns are walking up the scales really remind me of Bar Kokhba.
And then there are parts where I can hear a bit of Chicago in this. I didn't think about these connections at the time; this is something I say now listening to it in close proximity to the rest of my musical journey.
It's nice to see the context compressed like that and understand why I had particular affinity for certain songs. This album changed Ani from something just Jessica listened to into something we would really listen to together. It's a magnificent collection of sound and feeling. Every summer Jessica was away for one reason or another. Road trip, camp, whatever. This was of course on top of the fact that we lived far apart in the first place. We needed an anthem to get through it all, and this song was it.
I hit college at the same time as the likes of Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament.
Koala (2) - Bubble Gum (Vinyl), Na Gita A Li Castelli - Various - Roma De Ieri (Vinyl, LP), Polonaise From Tchaikovskys Eugene Onegin, S. 429 - Liszt* - Claudio Arrau, Michele Campanella, Misc, ...Te Che Non So Chi Sei - Luca Carboni - Persone Silenziose (CD, Album), Pentagonal Revisionism - Allegory Chapel Ltd. - Excursion Into The Pit (Cassette), Mind The Gap - Various - Its A Finger Lickin Thang 3 (Vinyl, LP), Gods Own Land - Analogy - 25 Years Later (CD), Get The Party Started (Bigroom Mix) - Chanel / Warren Clarke / Royal Gigolos - If You Love Me / Bitc, Gin & Milk - Dirty Pretty Things - Puffing On A Coffin Nail (Live At The Forum) (DVD), Brahma Tal (14 Beats) - Pandit Samta Prasad - Tabla Lahara (CD, Album), Lifetimes (Konigswasser Mix By El Tocadisco), America, The Beautiful - The Four Sergeants And Massed Chorus* - Songs Of Freedom (Vinyl, LP), Totally Nude - Talking Heads - Essential (CD), Blockade Is Reistance - TNB* - A Beginners Guide To (Cassette), Dominazione