Miles and miles of not very many smiles this week -- loads of stresses and strains -- so T.O.S. will be low on the updates. It will return in full swing on July 5th.
(If you've written me and I haven't replied yet, I'll get back to you soon. Bear with me.)
For now: go read Woebotnik!
06.28.04 @ 11:25 AM EST [link]
Douglas we loves ya!
06.23.04 @ 01:59 AM EST [link]
Eno speaks out against the low-carb diet craze sweeping the nation:
"Take me - my little pastry mother take me / There's a pie shop in the sky" (1974)
06.22.04 @ 04:50 PM EST [link]
Listened to a bunch of blandly ho-hum new releases today, and contemplated how great it would be if you could squirt a little Sriracha hot sauce on CDs to spice things up a bit. Hot sauce really does go with everything, you know. Music should be rated like habanero peppers: I demand Scoville unit ratings!
06.22.04 @ 01:11 AM EST [link]
I've never bothered keeping up with Acid Mothers Temple's pointlessly prolific recorded output--they're one of those bands where a little goes a long, long way. I used to have a habit, though, of collecting all their hologram-cover singles and randomly mailing them to friends of mine. But Acid Mothers Temple last night at Southpaw: completely, utterly awesome. They rocked me in ways I wasn't expecting to be rocked. Southpaw was packed, but not with the usual noise-crusties I'd expect to see; it was a pretty diverse group. Lots of people who looked like they just stopped by for a beer and were like "Hmm, so it appears that there is a cult Japanese psych band playing. Wanna stay?" So, Acid Mothers Temple. They're a bunch of goddamn hippies, of course, but they started out full-on metal, with lots of slow, sludgy Sabbath-style riffs repeated for ten, fifteen minutes. Fucking HEAVY. Yes, people were headbanging. One of the guitarists looked like Damo Suzuki but more badass. (Now look, Damo is totally badass, no question, but Damo radiates this benevolent, cheery "hey, anyone want a hug?" vibe that this guy most emphatically did not. I have hugged Damo. I don't think I would hug this guy.) The other guitarist was a dead ringer for G'n'R-era Slash, minus the tophat. The shaggy-hair-and-sweatpants bass player brought out Alf and Toucan Sam puppets at one point and started doing a little puppet show between songs. Soon, the band launched into these indescribably beautiful psych freakouts that really showed what cuddly melody-wusses those dudes are on the inside. Pretty, twinkly guitar lines repeated over and over, topped with BBC Radiophonic Workshop-style 'space' effects, with the bassist and the other guitarist jamming intensely, but kind of dreamily. The drummer seemed to be massaging the drum kit at one point. Not sure what the hell he was doing. Sometime he'd be bashing it all crazy, but then he'd get all soft and introspective. Aw. This isn't to say it didn't get pretty hard--by the end, Slash was swinging his guitar around by the neck with such fury that I was worried he was going to hurl it at us. He never did, of course. There were flowers to be communed with.
I will add that the Invent Acid Mothers Temple Album Titles thread on ILM has made my day. Personal favorites include "The Solar Gosling & The Infinity Doom Orchestra Pt. 1: Gasoline-Hashish Starride," "Tanz der Lemongrass," "Pokemon Duul II," "Progressive Robot Armadillos of the Moon," "Quiet Wyatt," "Stoned Pilots Temple and the Melting Macarthur Park (In the Dark)," "Cotton Casino and the Edwin Pouncey Hand Cream"...the list goes on.
06.20.04 @ 10:06 PM EST [link]
this must be the place.
After weeks of apartment-hunting, my friends and I finally found a place we liked in Brooklyn. It's one of the strangest apartments I've ever seen. It's not without its downsides, of course--it's not 'sundrenched' by any standard--but it has this really compelling cavernous quality to it. It's two floors; there's a spiral staircase that leads from the wood-floored living room to a ceramic-tiled cellar. The cellar has a rec room and a really weird bedroom. My new bedroom, which is on the upper floor, has two levels to it--it's got this really massive carpeted loft, accessible with a creaky wooden ladder. A previous tenant added a chin-up bar to the edge! The lofted area has all these strange parts to it, like a cave with secret passages. There's a skylight in the living room at a weird angle, that you can open with a crank. And a working fireplace. The bathroom has a washer and a dryer in it. It's the kind of place I expect to change and rearrange its configuration at will. Narnia ahoy.
06.19.04 @ 03:50 AM EST [link]
Was stuck on a runway for three hours last night, and panic almost broke loose. People get very weird when they've been been in an airplane too long, especially if it's one that's not moving. Every ten minutes or so, the pilot would gamely try to sugarcoat news of another hour-long delay. He started telling us stories. To amuse us, the flight attendants gave away some free tickets to the Mets-Tigers game. (Delta is the official airline of the Mets--it's amazing that they ever make it to their games on time.) Then they brought in some rather desperate-looking sandwiches, since it looked like none of us were going to get the chance to eat dinner. Purple grapes, little Toblerone chocolate bars that tasted frozen. When that ran out, they gave us pillows and blankets. Then bottled water. Then they ran out of bottled water and started giving people tomato juice instead. Then one of them found a bunch of bags of cheddar-cheese goldfish, which amused us for all of about five minutes. Then they finally started giving everyone complimentary beer and wine, which smoothed things over somewhat. Until the buzz wore off, and we were still on the runway. Just one more hour, came the apologetic voice over the intercom. Endless runway.
06.18.04 @ 01:53 PM EST [link]
raw meat torn by trumpet blasts!!
I was trying to figure out why Dr Prinz's research at the Molecular Gastronomy Research Centre, as described by David Toop, sounded so familiar. While I was looking up some stuff on the Web on his work, I came across this observation from physicist Peter Barham, a researcher on molecular gastronomy at the University of Bristol:
"One area that fascinates me is how all the senses play their own roles in our appreciation of food. Even our sense of touch can affect our perception of flavour. Try this experiment for yourselves. Try tasting some ice cream - it should taste good, like ice cream. Now take the same ice cream and while putting a spoonful in your mouth close your eyes and fondle a piece of velvet cloth. It will taste creamier than before! But even more astonishing if you rub your hand over a piece of fine sandpaper while taking yet another spoonful, the ice cream will seem to become gritty."
Then I thought, who did this before? The sensual rub of food, the music of chewing and crunching, velvet and sandpaper...it sounds so familiar...
The Italian Futurists, of course! I leafed through my well-thumbed copy of The Futurist Cookbook, written by F.T. Marinetti in 1932:
"Second: Aerofood, tactile, with sounds and scents (devised by Fillia). Here there are few little complications. Eating futuristically, one uses all the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing...Every dish will thus be preceded by a perfume attuned to it, which will be dispelled from the table by electric fans. Next the use in measured doses of poetry and music as unexpected ingredients to accentuate with their sensual intensity the flavours of a given dish. The second course consists of four parts: on a plate are served one quarter of a fennel bulb, an olive, a candied fruit and a tactile device. The diner eats the olive, then the candied fruit, then the fennel. Contemporaneously, he delicately passes the tips of the index and middle fingers of his left hand over the rectangular device, made of a swatch of red damask, a little square of black velvet and a tiny piece of sandpaper. From some carefully hidden melodious source comes the sound of part of a Wagnerian opera, and simultaneously, the nimblest and most graceful of the waiters sprays the air with perfume..."
06.16.04 @ 01:45 PM EST [link]
"At the Molecular Gastronomy Research Centre in Bristol, research is being conducted into the sounds of food, how the sound of a particular food can influence its taste. Dr John Prinz has studied the way in which the sound of mastication enhances the perception of texture. Chewing sounds such as a crunch provoke immediate delicate adjustments of tooth and jaw action. Chef Heston Blumenthal was given a demonstration by Dr Prinz: 'He gave me a set of headphones and a piece of chewing gum, and then asked me to chew so that my jaw closed in time with the recorded crunching noise coming through the headphones. Something really bizarre happened: the noise triggered a signal in my brain, which in turn stopped my jaw from closing, almost as if I had lost the full use of my jaw."
--Haunted Weather, p. 45
06.15.04 @ 02:55 AM EST [link]
A big, big, big round of applause for Simon R., y'all. The post-punk book is DONE!
06.13.04 @ 04:14 PM EST [link]
Out in semi-rural New Hampshire. The air's bracing--it's about 20 degrees colder up here--and it smells like pine. There are forests and tree-covered hills and mountains! I hung out by a stream flowing through the rocks, looking for fish. We stared at trees looking for caterpillars. Went to a store that only sold baseball cards. At night the sky is actually pitch-black! And you can hear crickets!
And I drove about 200 miles today, after not using cars for about a year. It took a few minutes to get back into the rhythm of driving, but it felt rejuvenating and freeing in a way that few things do. Made me itch for another cross-country road trip. Wanderlust ahoy. . .
06.13.04 @ 04:14 PM EST [link]
Saw David Byrne at Carnegie Hall tonight and it was MAGIC. There was a period of my life when I watched Stop Making Sense obsessively, and I think this is the closest I'll ever get to actually being inside that film. Byrne's ageless as ever--either he and Bowie are drinking the same vampire-magick life-elixir, or there's some serious Picture of Dorian Grey action goin' on in that attic. Byrne never stopped moving; he was too busy cha-cha dancing, hip-swiveling, pogoing, or contorting his body into odd Gumby-like configurations. Over half the set was old Talking Heads songs--"I Zimbra," "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)," "Road to Nowhere," "Once in a Lifetime," "Psycho Killer," "Heaven," "Life During Wartime". . .
And I'd never been inside Carnegie Hall before. It's so beautiful in there; it's like sitting inside a wedding cake turned inside-out. Good lord, the acoustics! It's been so long since I've been in a venue that was actually designed for great sound.
I hope I get the chance to dance with David Byrne someday.
06.09.04 @ 02:05 AM EST [link]
Ever had those moments where you wake up from bed with a start and go "Aha! I know where this article is going now! It's all working!"? Then you throw off the blankets, turn on the lamp, and wade through a bunch of boxes in your closet to find a dusty book that perfectly relates to what you've been thinking about in a cool way. Then you lay out a bunch of graph paper on the floor and start drawing lines between the different things you were thinking. They all connect! Encyclopedia Brown, we have the answer!
06.05.04 @ 02:11 AM EST [link]
I love reading ratings for scotch.
"Big, soft-hearted nose: honeycomb, mead, exotic spice, rose petal, butter, light wood and ozone."
06.04.04 @ 01:28 AM EST [link]
answers to your questions coming soon! but for now...
Semi-frequent pining for Berlin aside, I've been really, really loving New York these days. On Friday I saw Glenn Branca jam with noise band Tono-Bungay in a basement for five bucks! Branca looks like a kindly old English professor. He was wearing a pale grey blazer and neatly pressed blue jeans with the bottoms cuffed, and these black-framed bifocals. Kinda quiet and studious-looking. Certainly not the sort you'd expect to be thrashing away like a madman at two cherry-red guitars surgically joined at the fretboard. And he was slam-dancing with the guys in the band! At one point one of the other guitarists pushed Branca off the tiny stage and he bounced right back from the fall, unmussed. Then he pushed one of the guitarists!
Then there was a street fair where I got advice from some dudes from the West Indies on how to brew the perfect extra-strength ginger beer (ginger beer is an obsession of mine), and those wonderful and frightening concoctions I remember from when I lived in Harlem that involve sea moss and sorrel.
Then today was the opening reception of the Parsons design master's thesis exhibitions. Go take a look--it's free. It felt kind of like a more grown-up version of a high school science fair. Everyone was so earnest about the art they were making, so completely unpretentious and excited. The best pieces had more good ideas in them than most gallery shows I've been to recently. There were a lot of miserable failures, too, but they were usually spectacular in their awfulness. So still fun to watch.
And also: people are throwing out the best trash right now! I guess everyone's moving. I'm always amazed at what Manhattanites will throw out. People don't want to fix anything here, do they? So many great pieces of furniture lacking just one easily replaceable part. Sofas! Antique tables! Perfectly nice house plants that just need some fertilizer and pruning! Mattresses--sketchy, I know--but it's still fun to jump up and down on them as they lay on the sidewalk, unloved. So many cool books! Some are kind of lame--"Introduction to Business Mathematics at Baruch College"? But whatever, maybe someday I'll need to understand business mathematics. I've plowed through most of the book already.
06.03.04 @ 01:14 AM EST [link]
Finding a new apartment in Brooklyn is making me think a lot harder about how great living in Berlin might be. In Berlin, there are too many cheap apartments and not enough people to fill them. What are we doing here again?!
06.02.04 @ 12:25 PM EST [link]