|The format I've been attempting here for the last few months has been overly constraining, guilt-inducing (setting myself up for failure if I don't keep up a self-imposed quota), and probably not that illuminating. I don't know exactly how things will develop, but, for a start, I think I'm going to stop differentiating between music and other cultural products. So, let's try something like this for a while.|
Read  Julie Carr, Equivocal (Alice James, 2007) at gym. 'Worthy' but otherwise well-executed book which, in part, torques the contemporary motherhood post-lyric (a few poems appeared in Not For Mothers Only) with a step- or adopted child variant ("Like other mothers, I say no to desserts, noise and spitting, but I am not a mother and I am not like anyone else.") The series "Wrought" rubbed me the wrong way early, with "Beckett" isolated on its own line, floating out there in an inspecific musing relatedness, but later sections tighten up quite a bit, both in imagery ("When he gathered the mussel shells//they were studded with barnacles--//wedding cakes") and sound. The title series is often, from p. 58 on, insistently dactylic ("If that bird in my hand and that bear in the trees/were to read what I store in the crease of my eye"), which sets off the chatty "I'm not really into science right now" on the final page sharply. Though I like that line, the "limits of reason" material that pops up here and elsewhere ("Iliadic Familias") seem like pretty worn goods.
Listened to  The Kinks, Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire (orig. Pye, 1969). Thirty-odd minutes on how the English working class busies itself, what it thinks of itself, and what it can't; sociology shading into ideology critique. "The little man who gets the train/Got a mortgage hanging over his head/But he's too scared too complain/'cos he's conditioned that way" ("Shangri-la") is a little undercooked, but much of the writing is sharper, e.g. "She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina," probably my favorite song on the album, though "Brainwashed" would make someone an excellent cover (as "Victoria" did The Fall). A few cuts ("Australia") are overlong, and sonically, I've never found most mid-period Kinks anything to write home about, but the writing does so much of the work here that it doesn't matter much. Haven't gotten to the CD bonuses.
Watched  Best Food Forward (1943, dir. Edward Buzzell [though the main stylistic stamp is producer Arthur Freed). MGM adaptation of a bit of prom-at-the-military-prep-school froth with, in its Broadway version, had been a surprise hit thanks to a young (like, the actual ages of the characters) and energetic cast. I should know the OCR and don't (there was also an early '60s reviival that was one of Liza Minelli's big roles), but I have to assume that these stage versions were livelier than this film, which is so stylized and art-directed that it might as well be animated. Lucille Ball -- playing "Lucille Ball," a sex symbol who accepts a fan's invitation to his prom as a publicity stunt -- works the Eve Arden side of her persona, but her hair color is more integral to the film's overall design than she is to the plot. Many of MGM's junior stable are caught at awkward stages: Virginia Weidler, so wonderful at 13 in The Philadelphia Story, is shrill and stagey three years later (this was her final film), and June Allyson wouldn't find (or be handed) her sweetheart persona until Two Girls and a Sailor the following year. Here, she just acts hyper. Nancy Walker is almost the only performer to come off well, though the sort of "homely" jokes she's given -- see also Girl Crazy, and Alice Pearce in New York, New York -- are the single most unpleasant aspect of the MGM musical cycle. Glad I checked this off my list, but it's not a patch (musically, either) on the superficially similar Good News.
free music, discography, etc. here
- 24. Stars Like Fleas, The Ken Burns Effect
- 22-23. American Music Club, The Golden Age, Mark E...
- Cost of replacement aside: things I'm least happy ...
- 21. The Paragons, My Best Girl Wears My Crown
- 20. Bruce Springsteen, Magic
- p. 123, you're it
- 19. Big Dipper, Supercluster
- 18. Juno, Encores! at City Center, 3/30
- 17. Alex Hassan, Phantom Fingers
- 15-16. V/A The Found Tapes, BIPPP