Mabuse on Music

1. I have recently discovered The Avalanches. If you enjoy goofball hip-hop with a wide range of samples and influences, then I highly recommend their album, Since I Left You. If you’re interested in sampling the Avalanches, “Frontier Psychiatrist,” one of the album’s grand highlights (with something in the area of 50 vocal samplings), exists as a highly inventive music video that truly needs to be experienced. Strangely enough, these folks originate in Australia of all places.

2. I’ve loved Weller from the Jam onwards, but Paul Weller should probably not be experienced live. He is (or, at least, at the Warfield, he was) an extremely bitter performer with a generic-sounding blues band who showed remarkable contempt towards an audience that demanded that he perform Jam and Style Council songs. Let’s put it this way. He smoked two cigarettes on stage just before performing “That’s Entertainment,” did a lifeless cover a full stop below the recording, and then threw his guitar down at the end. I don’t blame a performer for getting annoyed when they perform their back catalog. But Weller could have easily reinvented the song and found a way to love it, the way he reinvented “English Rose” for his “unplugged” album, Days of Speed, and actually enjoyed himself in the process.

3. M. Ward (who I saw not too long ago with the magnificent Tito Perez) puts on a nice no-frills show, but I’m not sure if I like his baseball caps. Then again, I have a problem in general with baseball caps. So I’m sure it’s just me.

4. Elbow, the Manchester band that sounds dangerously like Coldplay but thankthegoodlord is not Coldplay, has a new album out called Leaders of the Free World. Alas, like the BRMC’s recent move towards undistinctive acoustic blues, this new album represents an unfortunate shift from the nuanced inventiveness of Cast of Thousands into the unfortunate territory of Travis/Coldplay clones. Do we really need any more? Even Guy Garvey’s voice suddenly sounds like Chris Martin’s. And the lyrics have shifted away from riffs on “sex toys” and are now more straightforward whinings about lost love. A shame.

5. Rick Moody wonders if rock ‘n roll is still for him at the age of 44. The real question is whether such a question can be answered when he genuinely believes that “the new Rolling Stones song has some pep.” But I’m sure he meant to write that the new Rolling Stones has one reaching for Pepto-Bismol.

6. And while I haven’t yet heard it, the new Paul McCartney album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, is of interest because McCartney, in an effort to try something different, enlisted Nigel Godrich (producer of OK Computer) to produce this album. While Mick and Keith have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of growing old gracefully, it’s interesting to see rock icons attempt reinvention when they’re financially solvent.

If Rick Moody Described Paris Hilton

parishilton.jpegThe testicles are housed in a ruddy shaking sac barely filtered through hazy colors, Rick Saloman’s, his driving impetus, his force, his motive power, behind a cylindrical-shaped piston engine for all the purveyors and preeners and panderers and patronizers of cheap thrills to see, to download it across networks, to hear her bored moans, the dynamic phallus that drives the basest, perhaps the easiest, of human emotions, vaguely limp, sore after repeated use but still well on the way to repeated ejaculation, if only we had the whole tape, just below an unsightly gorbelly (if it is so; it’s hard to see) that may frighten cocker spaniels, premonitory and intransigent efforts, again and again into the orifice of a tawny wild-child from the rear, just this side of adulthood, a tattoo somewhere above the repeated point of entry, richness here against the smooth pure color of white sheets, coverlets and counterpanes placed down by the maid, what might she be thinking the next morning, sent through a powerful machine known to clean linen, silk, rayon, 100% all-purpose cotton, of hues of lapis lazuli, of chartreuse, of Day-Glo colors forgotten, the colors and shades and dark spasms of hotel and motel rooms from one side of the nation to another — but in this case, white, pure as snow, angelic, the color of America’s angel, again flattened hard, against the bed, her hands possibly clutching the comforter to humor Rick (and me, for my own priapism occurs as I write this sentence); moments later, a machine that this recherche City of Love (in name only) may inherit someday, if she breaks this curse that she should be ashamed of, if only people didn’t want to see a rich kid transform overnight into a soft-porn starlet, if only there was more to write about — but, no, I won the Guggenheim. What would Billy Faulkner have to say? He might have needed something else to download, if you catch my drift.


Recent Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee says that television has replaced books as the imaginative impetus for kids. Apparently, he hasn’t heard of Harry Potter.

Is Rick Moody aware of periods?

The New Yorker has a profile on Lucia Joyce, James’ daughter, focusing on Lucia’s efforts to live in the shadow of a paternal genius and her father’s neglect. Lucia Joyce would later spend most of her years in an asylum. Carol Schloss’s book on the matter seems to suggest that Lucia was the price paid for Finnegan’s Wake and that she was instrumental in contributing to its imagery.

Jim Crace on research: “My wife and my editor think I do lots of research. And I encourage them in their delusion as it makes me seem hardworking. But actually I don’t research. I oppose research. What I do is a bit of background reading in order to work out how to tell my lies. I don’t look for information, I look for vocabulary and for the odd little emotional idea that will give some oxygen to my imagination. Vocabulary is the Trojan horse that smuggles the lie. Facts don’t help. If you’re not a persuasive talker at a party, no one’s going to believe you, even if everything you say is true. But if you’re a persuasive liar then everyone is fooled.”

The future of board games? The Boston Globe says Germany.

Hitler’s unpublished second book: “Hitler introduces significant new arguments, notably in relation to the United States, Europe, and, above all, the most crucial area of his foreign policy, relations with Britain, arguments which he had been developing in speeches and articles during 1926?8. ”

More end of the year lists:

The New York Times [The Bottom Line] (user: dr_mabuse, pw: mabuse)
The Washington Post [Fiction] [Nonfiction]
The Chicago Tribune [Best of 2002] (user: dr_mabuse, pw: mabuse)
The Seattle Times [Visual Arts (including The Pop-Up Kama Sutra!)] [Performing Arts] [Classical Arts] [Rock & Roll]
The Christian Science Monitor [Top 5 Fiction] [Top 5 Nonfiction] [Noteworthy Fiction] [Noteworthy Nonfiction]