Friday, November 25, 2005

His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts, His Teeth Were White

I'm from southern and northern Ontario, you know. There are a lot of dark forests and long roads in that province, many wonderful parts, and good cities, but big skies—well, big skies are a prairie particular, where, some evenings, the land is lit up like a warm city night and nobody's home because they're all out singing, like the field-workers with Handel's choruses in seventeen hundred and whenever. That's what a big sky can do to the soul, southern England, northern Alberta, anywhere there's open land, I guess. Everywhere is beautiful, of course, and all times, all people. Alright, most people. I'll believe you're beautiful, too, as long as you don't call me names, or hold my arm behind my back. I prefer to talk, you know? We could look at photographs, or jump against walls (you bring the Blood Brothers album), or maybe we could just stand on the corner and talk and read the ingredients on the junk food we're eating. Pringles for me. Golf courses, in the autumn, are so under-rated. I like to walk across the clean turf and look at the trees. I'll make supper, okay? We can have kimchi in front of the television, or we can have chicken-breast and white rice and green peas on pale-blue plates. You choose.

The Uncas are playing at the Sidetrack tonight, and someone told me it would be their last-ever show there. I took a Modern Lit class with the bass player—it was about a year or so ago and I wonder if he would remember? After work, I'm heading over to the Powerplant. Five O'Clock Charlie will be there, along with the Stand Up Firs. I think. Happy Thanksgiving, Americans. Have a good week-end, all. Lucky bugs win prizes.

Listening: 1) I've been looking around for awhile (do you have a brand new key?), checking out the mp3 hosting, and there's no help for it, and I've finally caved—this is now a Yousendit blog. Songs will now—mostly—be downloadable via the magic of other people hosting them. The dif is, now maybe I can put up a little of what I like instead of waiting for live hosting somewhere else. 2) From now on, the end-of-the-week Listening post will be local. Ish. By which I mean Edmonton. And the surrounding ish. 3) I wanted my first Yousendit song to be perfect. I didn't care if it was old or new, borrowed or blue, obscurity from Denmark or mainstream Marvin Gaye, I just wanted the song to be perfect, to have that fresh green O altitudo of heart and heart. Well, Acid House Kings, of course. We all know them, superstars in Scandinavia, and we all love them. They've been posted and discussed manny times before this. They're ABBA, aren't they? Even if you hate them, there's probably a song you'll like. And even if you still hate them, well, they won't hate you back. They're handclaps, and harmonies, and sailing into sight of land. That a few voices and a few instruments could make a sound this beautiful—how is that possible? Music like this is out of the reach of weakly printed words. I can't describe this song, but, if you've never heard it before, don't worry. Your heart will recognize it right away. "Do What You Wanna Do" + Acid House Kings

Reading: My eye caught Kipling's Just So Stories on the shelf, but was immediately seduced by the cynical glance from a copy of Saki's Not-So-Stories leaning against it. There's a pun buried in that title, too, in addition to the slag against Kipling, because it's a book of short stories, very episodic short stories—in other words, not so story. Saki (Hector Hugh Munro to his family and friends) is so easy to read, the lines of his conversations falling in all the right places. There's no one like him in the literary pantheon, he's one of the top short-story writers out there. And Saki doesn't bother you with novellas or short-stories dressed in long clothes. Episodic means episodic. He likes the two page story just fine, and so will his reader. Saki writes like a combination of Oscar Wilde and George Orwell, a very bitter and witty style is his. Example? '"No one has ever said it," observed Lady Caroline, "but how painfully true it is that the poor have us always with them."' Saki hated women (the aunt who raised him was worse than anything in fairytales), he was extremely anti-Semitic, he always reacted against official authority. He was a very good writer. Any collection of Saki is the best of Saki. His most successfully dramatic story, however (I think), the one found in The Chronicles Of Clovis and found, deservedly, in many anthologies, is the nearly humourless or very black-humoured "Sredni Vashtar". A persecuted boy keeps a ferret in a shed. The ferret's name is Sredni Vashtar. That ferret is a killer. Oh, the story goes terrible after that. "Sredni Vashtar" + Saki

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