Two final birthday notes. Instead of assembling a knockout-album soundtrack, my birthday surprise this year was that I played a record for one of my favorite intriguing reasons: I could not remember a single thing about it (happens when you dig into the hard-to-reach back stacks of CDs). Turned out to be very intelligent and very entertaining:
Giancarlo Vulcano, Unfinished Spaces (Distant Second, 2011)
The soundtrack for a documentary about Cuban National Art Schools (!!) that combines Cuban and classical avant-gardes from a fellow who does many TV soundtracks (??). Anyway, 20 quite short tracks that keep you swaying and bopping along the whole way. Check it. Sooner than I did.
Next, an afternoon drive in the cold sunshine where again and again I recalled that one of the last times my Mother spoke to me was on my birthday the year she passed away (about six months later). She was far from lucid then, but suddenly she came out with this:
“I remember the first time I saw you — when they placed you, wrapped up, on the counter next to me.” (This was the era of anesthesia childbirth.) She had never, ever, said this to me before.
I remember the plain little rooms of the pre-hospital “medical center” where I was born. And yes, at least a few times each year on this day, the two of us are back there.
Captivating meditations on sleep and esp. dreams. I may have mentioned this before, but Mother was fixated on her dreams, many mornings recalling them in detail. I have a very peculiar book of hers that purported to explain everything in dreams as some sort of signifier or signal or warning. Offers no research justifications beyond the way obvious: yes, dreaming dead people you knew have come back to life is scary and probably a warning that something unexpected is going to happen.
I’m gonna come out and say it — most years there’s at least one wonderful record I hear but cannot explain satisfactorily. In 2018, it’s Minor Empire, Uprooted (World Trip).
Here’s the scoop.
Go hear them if you can.
But pick up that CD for sure.
Sometimes the ocean in which we are the merest of ripples can deliver tiny joys. Today on our walk through the park, after seeing the rather yucky slug on the walkway, I mentioned that it seemed like years and years since we had seen any Woolly Bear caterpillars and how I remained fascinated (in fun) with their ability to predict the upcoming winter.
We then proceeded to see six of them, all very small, four edging along and two squished. Still have a little tingle from my words made fuzzy flesh.
From “Police Incidents”
First, a classic Students Are Back muck-up:
“At 11:13 AM, a caller reported that a couch was stolen from outside their apartment door. Later in the day, the caller reported finding her couch in another apartment. The resident said his roommates must have brought it in and the caller insisted it was her couch, according to the report.”
Next, some Street Surrealism:
“At 4:30 PM, a caller reported that a man approached the caller and her friend, asked to use their cell phone and said he needed to speak with Herbie Hancock, the jazz artist.”
I wrote about my life-changing first encounter with his work. That transcendent jolt was followed by I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream, Dangerous Visions, “A Boy and His Dog,” and so many others …
Obit with a lot of scoop and a terrific photo.
Joyce Carol Oates just put this brilliant comment on Twitter:
If you haven’t read her incredible 1966 story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” you must.
It is a masterpiece beyond compare.