fjb, local currency: solo 1992-1998 (fayettenam)

the human hearts, civics (tight ship)

the human hearts on myspace

nothing painted blue, taste the flavor (shrimper)

info on older band and solo work; I have no idea who compiled the scarily complete discographies


Read [38] Joy Williams, The Changeling (Fairy Tale Press, 2008; orig. pub’d 1978). Don’t remember what I thought of this when I read it in high school; probably that it was heavy going compared to Breaking and Entering, her then-current novel, or my favorites among the stories in Taking Care. (Pick up a copy and read at least "The Yard Boy" sometime.) Now, I’d but the difference between this and later work a bit differently: somewhere along the line, Williams stopped needing the kind of fabulism she depends on here in order to get across her sense that the world is stranger than we know. Sentence by sentence, though – or, often, in tilts from plumb of just a few degrees between one sentence and its neighbor – she’s already Williams: “In the hospital nursery the baby lay, covered with ointment and lying on greased paper, prepared much like fish en papillote.” (She’s also already found her knack for constructing a point of view that is almost that of the protagonist, while still being able to include vocabulary and imagery unlikely to be available to her; the effect is “off,” but never uncontrolled. Something similar happens w/ dialogue.) The final chapter is six unpunctuated pages; the technique is Molly Bloomish, but instead of one consciousness representation, here we get the overlap of about a dozen feral child-animals as they gnaw away at what’s left of the integrity of the main character’s personality. I also note that the men in this book are just awful; the women, unknowing at worst.

Read [39] Ed Park, Personal Days (Picador, 2008). 1/3 Office Space (I particularly enjoyed the quotes from fictional management/motivational books; there’s even a stapler episode), 1/3 Martin Amis’s Dead Babies (equivalently weighted cast of characters, one of whom turns out to be something other, and far more destructive, than he initially appears); 1/3 Joyce made digestible, with modernist technique given a rationale internal to the narrative by way of technological mediation (final chapter, also a bit Molly-ish in its urgency, is one long email, written while trapped in an elevator; some clever word play gets worked into the plot, cleverly though not exactly believably, via malfunctioning voice recognition software.) I’m not sure some family-background digressions in the last third added much, but as for the rest: well-played.

Watched [40] Afjin (ICP/Data Images DVD; no director credited; 2007-8?). Recent Dutch TV doc on the pianist/composer/improvisor Misha Mengelberg. Not a great film as such – it jumps around temporally a lot, in way that suggests intentional fragmentation less than it does indecision about what story the filmmakers were trying to tell – but I don’t know where else, outside of the BIMhaus, you’re going to get to spend this long hanging out w/ Han Bennink, Ab Baars, and the like, not to mention that subject himself, a little desultory in the manner of many artists wary of being pinned down as to their intent, but often happy to jump up and illustrate a point at the piano. Some archival footage (the earliest from ’60, I think) reveals that he (cf. Basie) used to play a lot more busily than he does on most of the stuff I know; it also appears that some of his compositions for others are based on ideas he’s too lazy to execute in his own performances. Much of the music excerpted is given in full on the DVD extras, inc. Met welbeelfde groet van de kameel, in which the concluding improvised section ends when an onstage carpenter has finished reassembling an ordinary wooden chair, tangram-style, into a camel, according to instructions given in the score, and a charming arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Baltimore Oriole,” which happens to be available here.