Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No Grillz

Global warming, people? So inconsistent, isn't it? Anyways, the snow last night means my brother called me to say he couldn't get home from Banff. In fact, he'd already wheeled off the road, so he's staying overnight in some random hotel. And the evening before last, my other brother bashed the Honda against a curb slo-mo because the ice meant his wheels couldn't grip it or rip it. What can be said? Too bad the car wasn't a Hansel. So now he's looking at seven hundred sweet ones plus parts, Godsake. It's a tough time to have a metal body and all-weather tires, is what. On the other hand ("There is always the other side, always"), I look at my car parked useless in the garage and feel bad about the no-license thing. The beast is just sitting there, taking space without insurance, a beached whale with a mouthful of silver baleen. And that garage is so cold.

Music in this space on Thursday. Book business too, and sexiness from France. I've got to go to work, now. Doot doo dee doo, doodle doodle doo. Doot doo dee doo, doodle dee.

The Courtesans: The Demi-Monde In 19th-Century France + Joanna Richardson Um, I guess it's okay to look at the painting of the naked woman on the front of this picture, because, like, a woman wrote the book, right? So if the author think's it's okay that some starving prostitute got exploited by a sexually virused member of the Victorian patriarchy just so he could support himself by selling peached-out smut to impotent aristocrats for a handful of francs which he later spent buying green liquor and STD's, well, that's cool, because now I can look, too. She's naked, people! Actually, Joanna Richarson is a very well-respected author, winner of the Prix Goncourt prize and a biographer of half the famous elite from the French and English Victorian era. Reading her is like reading Proust, but for real (FULL DISCLOSURE: seeing as I have never read more Proust than what you can find in Bartlett's, the preceding sentence was nothing more than a pathetic grab for literary cred—you are now at complete guilt-free liberty to go read anything other than the rest of this paragraph). Reading this book, however, is depressing, and beautiful, all at once. Villon or someone wrote that famous phrase, "But where are the snows of yester year", and that is TOTALLY this book. At first, the people and events are amazing, wonderful spectacles. But as the body count rises, as courtesan after courtesan dies friendless and alone, nearly starving or surrounded by sad lists of wealth and bitterness, I become oppressed with a sense of "What's the use?" The one woman who WAS good in all of this miserable prostitution died a reject, an outsider, spurned by everyone she had known. Never give a stripper an even break, right? These women were amazing, what they did, who they knew. Public prostitutes, for sale at their own discretion, many of whom kept many more than one or two men at a time. For their crimes, for their indiscretions, which were really but the indiscretions of the men they knew, these women mostly failed of their object, which was to achieve wealth and worship frequently and continually. Which seems a little unfair, seeing as how they gave everything they had to gain their ends.

The phrases and paragraphs of this book are strong and utilitarian, not given to flights of fancy or metaphor. Information, not atmosphere, is the purpose of this book. What atmosphere it does contain comes from 1) the constant repetition of the same story told over and over, and 2) the excerpts, of which this book includes many, from the letters and books of the time which reveal, through bitterness, spite and romance, who these women really were at least as much as the author of this work herself reveals.

"You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Murder Mix)" + Dead Or Alive This is standard eighties business, rising up and crushing indie rock like nobody knows. You don't hear a word, it's just all beats until 1:32 and then the classic chorus kills you at 1:59. This is for weaving between eight o'clock morning traffic, and you better be driving a red rusty Geo, you hear? Overtake that Navigator, cut off the Audi on the yellow, you don't care, you've been up studying till three the night before and now you're going for coffee with a pretty girl before taking the last finals of your life. I hope you remembered to brush your teeth. Either that or you're on acid and haven't been out of the house in three days and don't even know it. Yikes! Get out of bed and have some Corn Pops already, feed the cat. Okay? GO! GO! GO!

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