Monday, November 27, 2006


When I was in graduate school, I worked in a laboratory at the med school, running a kind of new techie assay aimed at activation (or not) of beta-adrenergic receptors. Because that particular lab was one of only two producing reliable results (thank you very much), we hosted visiting scientists on an ongoing basis for a month or three at a time who would come, do their experiments with our expertise or learn enough to set up their own labs. I was continually frustrated by these visitors coming in and taking over all of the drawer space---there was precious little of it and I needed to stash my books, my purse, my lunch. Once I was pissing about it to a post-doc fellow friend of mine and he offered some wisdom: he said to throw a handful of tampons in which ever drawers I wanted to claim as my own and for sure they'd remain vacant. He was right. I never had the problem again.

That's been some time ago and I was only reminded of it because having Rob's photos in my sidebar had the same affect: he wouldn't ever read my blog because he didn't like seeing his picutres here. You'll see I've removed them.

HBO is airing a new series called "Off the Record" which is kind of a more credible version of VH-1's "Behind the ..." whatever it was. Its hosted by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and the first episode featured U2's Bono and Edge. Less video footage, more chatting, the three guys displayed more charm than I've seen on one stage in quite some time. It struck me that U2 has consistently been worthy of the respect and adulation of their audience. They never made the hollow album, they never condescended, never produced anything but their own music, their own way. Its this kind of integrity that listeners should demand of their artists and precisely what the music-industry's present approach to selling music works against.

I've chatted around this issue a number of times on other rants and I'm gradually feeling closer to articulating the crux of the matter on my standards for music. Bono made a remark about listening to music as a teen and feeling like music could change the world. How audacious, then, must it be for him to stand up in front of an audience and sing a song? Wouldn't most of us be intimidated? But no---U2 has consistently reflected on the world around them and challenged their listeners to make something of it. He and Edge both talked about the imperative and challenge of producing original work, especially with their quite conventional approach to rock-and-roll instrumentation.

Don't get me wrong---Bono can be a little sanctimonius. But compare the legacy of let's say, the Rolling Stones to that of U2? I really feel like there are very few artists who have consistently done their thing, their way, with respect for their audience and without derailing, debauchery, with addictions, etc. I think Eric Clapton and James Taylor also fall into this category although we all know about their struggles with addiction---it just doesn't seem to have impacted their careers so much.

Pandora on the box...
I love me some Pandora and their customizable internet radio stations. They've recently initiated a podcast. The first one was about 9 minutes on vocal harmony; nice. I'd like a bit more theory but they have a broad audience to appeal to... its nice that they're sharing a bit of the brain-power driving their cataloguing. You should check it out here.

The Difficult Kind -- Sheryl Crow ( The Globe Sessions, 1995)
Vocal harmony
speaking of which, I've been on a huge Sheryl Crow jag for about 5 days; don't know what set it
off. I love this song. I've noticed a lot of her earlier work is quite remorseful but not really apologetic---that's kind of interesting. It was a toss up between this song and "Strong Enough" from Tuesday Night Music Club. Reflecting on this song and its ability to change the world (probably won't...) and originality...hmmm. I do think there's an idea here that resonates but its not neccessarily a new theme. So clearly my "standard" accomodates more than just world-changing, startlingly new material. I wonder how to best summarize the other stuff---for sure it has to do with speaking to the human experience in a meaningful way. And groove---if you can get the booties shaking while delighting the ears, well---that's nothing but good news.

Oh, I've been knitting kids; no doubt about it! I finished Lindsay's sock (too small), Mystery Hat #3, and LARA---yep; she's finished and ready to go to work. Gorgeous. I'm about halfway finished with Mystery Hat #4 and I have about 75% of one daughter's bonus Christmas gift knitted up. I hadn't planned to do these projects but I got overwhelmed by the idea of knitting up furry little cuffs for gloves and coordinated stocking caps with furry bands so here we go. The will be the ultimate of elementary school glamor... they should squeal with delight!

Photos coming soon!


Donna said...

I can't believe I've caught you in a miss. It must be my lucky day seeing as I'm not too knowledgable about music, I just know what I like. Bono's sidekick is The Edge, not just Edge. Unlike Bono he has a first and last name, haha. You're girlies will certainly be the fashionistas of their peers for sure in their new winter duds. Hope Rob is feeling much better and you're all getting ready for a healthy happy 2007. Sorry I missed you on Thanksgiving. LYFE

Kathy said...

yeah; I gave that a moment's thought---it was late. Plus I need you guys to stay on your toes and keep me honest...