July 21, 2004

Get On the Mystery Train

So, no update for a bit; not much interesting has happened, I'm afraid. Got my ipod working, finally, though attempting to download music on a dial-up connection is an experience akin to Chinese Water Torture. Looking for jobs, slowly exploring Dublin. Haven't made any new friends yet, but give it time. I have to work on my chatting-up-strangers-in-bars skills, an expertise I know my parents would be proud to hear I've attained. (By the way, my Mom reads this blog now. Hi Mom! The package came today! Thanks! The rest of you, you'll have to wait until you see me in person to hear about the Norwegian sailor.*)

I'm listening to the Mystery Train as I write; I've kind of fallen in love with it. It's a program on RTE Radio 1, Monday to Thursday, presented by John Kelly, and it's the most random collections of songs in ever. Not all of it is to my taste, but a lot of it is, and a good two-thirds of it I've never heard, or heard of, before. But more so than the specific songs he plays, it's the pervasive sense of pleasant anticipation that makes the show: you wait in the gaps between songs to see how he'll surprise you this time, and how this next song will resonate with what came before. Let me see if I can give you a sense of it by telling you what he played tonight:

First off was "Same as It Ever Was," by the Talking Heads, then one by a group called Avalanche whose title I didn't catch, then "Do the Hustle," "Very Superstitious," by Stevie Wonder, "Yali," by Uma Sangari, "Assoule," by Tanaruwen --- those last two being from Mali, by the way, so god only knows if I've spelled them right --- then "You Know, I Know," by John Lee Hooker, a funky little harp number by Dorothy Ashby, "Teenage Kicks," by the Nouvelle Vague, which is just as French-poppy as it sounds, "Spaceship," by the Gasmen, "Bring Me the Disco King," David Bowie, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," Chris Mindoke, and finally, "Far Away," by Freddie Hubbard, which, regrettably, he had to cut off in the middle of the trumpet solo.

He has a different regular segments, too. Monday's Relaxation Suite started off with the intro from a 50's self-hypnosis album, and commenced a varied series of instrumental numbers, the last by John Cage, which, if you've heard of John Cage, I should hasten to add, was actually pretty good. All of them sounded like something you'd hear in a movie over a montage of people traveling by moonlight. Thursdays he has Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow --- that might be Arse now I think about it --- which was rounded out the other day by a ten-minute spoken word piece by none other than --- wait for it --- Muhammad Ali, taken, it seemed, from one of his pre-bout press conferences back when he was still Cassius Clay. Between stanzas you could hear the laughter of the sports reporters and the phwoombp of flashbulbs.

You can listen to the show here, and I hope you will. It'd be live your time about 3:30; other times you can hear yesterday's show. (Never mind the show; after reading the bio on that page, I think I might be a little in love with John Kelly.)

In other news, I met some nice people the other day when I went to my first Ladyfest meeting. (Of course, now that I've mentioned the name of the festival, Google will probably spit up this page every time someone searched for it, so if I wanted to snark on the people involved, they'd probably find out in minutes. Fortunately, they all were very nice. Really.) If that sounds vaguely consciousness-raising, it kind of is. It's basically a festival to highlight the work of local women artists and other good stuff. The first one was in Olympia, Wa. in 2000; since then the idea has spread and there's been Ladyfests in New York and Austin a bunch of other cities. The Dublin one is gonna be a three-day event in November, with bands and films and a crafts fair and whatnot. I'm on the workshops committee.

I have to confess that this is probably not something I would have gotten involved in back in the States; my knee-jerk contrarianism leads me to be a bit suspicious of all things theoretically empowering. (That cereal they came out with a couple years back still raises my hackles, "Estro-Os, the oatmeal for women," or whatever it was called. Jesus Christ, it's fucking oatmeal. I don't need my oatmeal to be ph-balanced and gender segregated. Eat the Quaker Oats, take a multivitamin, and shut the fuck up.)

But when I heard they were looking for volunteers for this it seemed like a good way to get involved with the local arts community and so far the people seem very cool, and they have some interesting ideas for stuff they want to do --- self-defense and sex ed and all that but also things like bike maintenance and home repairs and other cool stuff chicks miss out on sometimes. Anyway, it's still early in the planning and there's a lot of stuff to do for it. Say, Eclaire, you don't know any Billyburg bands that'll be in Europe at that time, do you? They're still booking acts. It's all very D.I.Y. but there's going to be fundraisers so we can cover basic expenses --- honorariums for people giving workshops, food and lodgings for the bands, possibly even travel expenses. If you know of anyone who's headed this way in the fall, put me in touch, maybe we can get them a gig.

Actually, that reminds me of another issue --- So far I've been using nicknames I've made up to refer to people here, mostly because Google is so often an evil oracle, plucking visions of happy and successful ex-es from the ether, and I didn't want to put anyone's name up here and allow them to be found if they didnít want to be. But I notice some of you have used your real names in the comments, so maybe all my precautions are for naught. I plan, of course, to only relate anecdotes which show y'all in a charming light --- oh, let's be honest, I plane to ramble on about myself damn near exclusively --- but still, this is the internet, the unknown country from whose bourn the most bizarre jetsam returns, and generally at the most awkward of times. All of which is to say, should I keep on with the nicknames or not? Vote in the comments, would you? (I am a shameless comment-prodding hussy.) I should admit that I quite enjoy making up nicknames for people.

Wow, this is long, and there are one or two mild curios I haven't covered. Till tomorrow, then.

*Kidding, Mom, kidding.

Posted by Diablevert at July 21, 2004 07:08 PM | TrackBack

keep up with the nicknames - enjoy your coffee - can't wait to hear about the sailor story

Posted by: mom at July 22, 2004 10:08 AM

the lovely elizabeth harper ( http://www.elizabethharper.net/ ) should play the Dublin Ladyfest. she'd so travel for that! email me the days and i'll put her in touch...

i like my nickname; i fear my past.


Posted by: eclaire at July 22, 2004 10:13 AM

So you'd like to keep your identity tightly under wraps, eh, "Mom"? If that's your real name....

Posted by: cms at July 23, 2004 05:14 PM

what is my nickname

Posted by: Sull at July 25, 2004 08:12 AM

So far. Or "my sister." But, see above. No good giving you a nickname, eh? If you want me to just use one I can edit the comments and replace where you put your name with a nickname. I could use Bubs too, if you prefer.

Posted by: cms at July 25, 2004 08:17 AM

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