Recent days have found me with my first week off (well almost a week) in many moons. This particular post will probably only be of interest to those that have been reading along consistently. By I felt i owed an explanation for those of you that come here often as to the slow positing rate as of late. I’ve been catching up on things I have needed to do, on things I have ignored for too long due to travel. I have also been writing and working on things music related. But a good bit of the time I have been replenishing the well, diving into books, records, and films that I have been meaning to finish or check out. This is definitely stuff I want to be doing, it’s what I enjoy. However, as I am trying to make this a fully functional site, I also need to consume enough information that I can make this site interesting on a regular basis.
I’ve been reading S.C. Gwynne’s Rebel Yell: The Violence, the Passion, and the Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. I think the Civil War is a period worth understanding if you want to understand many of the national issues of our day. So many of them have their roots there. I am trying to finish Patti Smith’s great memoir Just Kids, and because of her I finally got around to reading Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. I am also trying to finish Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness, Erik Larson’s Isaac’s Storm, and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. I finished Pete Townshend’s autobiography, Who I Am, a week ago and can definitely recommend it to anyone that is even slightly interested in him. He has had a tremendous impact on our culture, even if he has never directly meant anything to you.
Musically I have been diving into the career of Big Star, as well as Chris Bell’s and Alex Chilton’s respective solo careers. Although I had some kind of bootleg Big Star compilation growing up, and I knew many of my favorite musical artists were influenced by them, this is the first time I have truly understood their brilliance and the arc of their careers. This is largely due to the excellent documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, which is streaming on Netflix for free right now.
I am a bit obsessive compulsive about music. As soon as I become interested in a band or artist, I tend to want to understand everything that I can about them. With literature I try to always keep one fiction and one non-fiction book going. I feel like reading fiction is better for songwriting and that non-fiction helps the kind of writing I do here. I usually do not read this many books and have definitely bitten off more than I can chew!
Unlike some people who need to be forced to read anything, the opposite is true for me. I could easily get lost down the rabbit hole of books, sometimes failing to take care of things in the real world. But there are so many interesting things out there, and as always, so little time…