Empty

August 31st, 2006

*YAWN*


I got nothin’. Well, I could write about my day, but it would be a post full of migration law and retarded people and who really wants to hear about that?


Yes, I thought so.



I’m going to bed :)

Whoa!

August 30th, 2006

Look at me, being all organised with the washing done and the Spanish homework done! The cogs are turning tonight – the wheels are moving and the thoughts are rushing.


And the world rejoices.



It was the best that I could do

August 29th, 2006

The day I turned my back on all you people
I felt an itching in my thumbs
The salt air like a broadcast from the distant, dark beyond
When my transformation comes

I went down to the warm, warm water
Saw a pelican fly past
Waved once at the highway and left all that behind me
I went wading through the grass

And no one was going to come and get me
There wasn’t anybody gonna know
Even though I leave a trail of burnt things in my wake
Every single place I go

The Mountain Goats – In Corolla

You have, say, a very large drawer full of miscellaneous stuff. Random mementos of time passed, things collected that were once literal representations of time and place that time has now turned into metaphorical expressions of memory and association. Things you’ve held on to because you always meant to ‘get to it’, or because the meaning wrapped around those inanimate objects has become so much more powerful than the object or event itself.

When you first open the drawer you’re faced with some kind of chaos – every piece is lumped in together and there is no order, rhyme or reason to its contents. The sheer amount of disorganised mess is intimidating. At this point it’s so easy to shut the drawer again – to take whatever you’re holding in your hand, that thing you’re looking to shelve, store, and forget, and carefully place it on top of the mess before pushing it slowly closed. ??You see the top layer of bits and pieces and think that the mess isn’t hurting anyone – once the drawer is closed no one can see what’s inside. You can hold all those things, can keep them close and not have to let them go, without really facing them and calling yourself on why they mean so much to you in the first place.

Generally, anyway, you’re too busy to pay much attention to why you keep the drawer closed. You know there is stuff in there you probably should ‘get to’, but you justify your inaction by saying everything else filling your life is more important. It’s just so easy to pretend the mess is not there.

But one day you open the drawer and look at the mess with new eyes. Perhaps you remember something in there that you need to draw on. Something that you want to look at and hold, to remember and feel the time and place that led you to keep it. You open the drawer and start sifting through. You realise quite quickly something needs to be done about the situation because the mess is making any amount of organised thought frustratingly difficult. ??So, after maybe a little while of approaching the drawer from different angles, of picking things up and putting them down, of furrowing your brow and wondering if it’s all just a bit too hard, you pick up something purposefully and decide to go one object at a time. You isolate that one thing from that massive pile of things and what it, on its own, means to you. You file, it, organise it, or throw it away. Then the next, and the next and before you know it that top layer is changing shape, form and colour.

You can’t get anywhere until you make a start, and you can’t make a start without making a choice. A choice that the current state of affairs is less than satisfactory. I think, realistically, I’m still on that top layer. The last 2 or 3 weeks has actually seen me adding to the layer and closing the drawer. The drawer is open tonight though, and I have organised some shit (metaphorically speaking) into a least some piles. I’ve got some work to do before it’s all in order, and I’m quite a long way from turning that drawer upside down and shaking out the dust.

Still, I’ve made a start. And that’s something.

I practically ran from the living room and into the street

August 28th, 2006

I think my brain is in some sort of shock. It was functioning at such a rate last week that now it’s completely shut down.

I drove to a very quiet place today and sat in the sun for a good 2 hours. Last week there was no room in my head for anything save the buzz and confusion of work. I was hit at all angles by Dad’s health and friend problems and impending weddings, but it all kinda ricocheted off. I felt completely numb.


The crazy mess of noise in my head as at least settled to a dull roar. Actually, for the first time in a long, long time, today for those 2 hours my mind was blank. I was really hoping for an opportunity to try and process what has happened this week, but after about half an hour of trying to force it I just gave up to the quiet. It seemed to work though – the idea of work tomorrow is now intimidating rather than terrifying. I got a few things done this morning that while only being small, means I start on the right page tomorrow rather than behind.


I missed Spanish last week and I have done no revision this week. I am annoyed about that, because as much as on the surface of things I’m unorganised, rarely do I go into something unprepared. I’m really not looking forward to tomorrow night.


Today, though, an impromptu tune from a flute made everything alright with the world. If I remember to appreciate the small things, then with any luck it might be easier to cope with the big stuff.

A note to my tomorrow self: Get Lonely makes a lot more sense when you’re tired, lonely and a little confused.

Start on the inside and…

August 26th, 2006

Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Insert intermittent eating and showering.


Rinse and repeat.


Strange currencies

August 24th, 2006

I tripped and fell. Did I fall?
What I want to feel, I want to feel it now

You know with love come strange currencies
And here is my appeal:

I need a chance, a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance,
A word, a signal, a nod, a little breath
Just to fool myself, to catch myself, to make it real, real

I have listened to this song perhaps 20 times today. I’m not sure how many times I’ve listened to the album Monster by REM, but more than a few. I’ve always liked this song, but this morning it hit me like a fist to the gut and I haven’t been able to let it go since.

Bless you Michael Stipe.

I will get lonely and gasp for air

August 22nd, 2006

Adam Spencer played Half Dead from Get Lonely this morning. Not only that, he introduced it using John Darnielle’s name, mentioning the album, and that it was released today. The Mountain Goats, it turns out, are one of Mr Spencers favourite bands.

Being in love with a taken man is very, very hard.

The less said about my job tonight the better. Tomorrow morning I will again start at 7:30AM, and I will again get no where near enough done. I may need someone, around Thursday say, to remind me to breathe.

At what point do you differentiate between cutting your nose off to spite your face, and settling? I’m not sure it’s wrong to want to be with someone who wants to be with me because they dig ME, rather than being with someone who just digs the idea. I think Hell is convinced I’ll talk myself out of any potential relationship using this argument on the premise they couldn’t possibly be interested in me, they must just be sufficiently desperate to want anyone. It’s not about that. At least I’m pretty sure it’s not. On good days I like to think the part of me that likes myself wins out over the part of me that has nothing but intense hatred and disappointment in myself. There’s plenty to like, but there’s also plenty to blah about.

I guess it’s the same with anyone.

I don’t think a person needs to jump at every relationship opportunity to end up in the right one. Maybe I have it wrong. It’s just, I’m not settling. And I sorta feel everything right now would be settling.

Also, I need to get rid of this thing I have for people who treat me like crap or with ambivalence. I think I might be some sort of masochist.

I like being on my own. I love coming home at night and shutting the world out, being able to dance like I’m retarded and talk to my goldfish and cook suspect things using mayonnaise and leftover chicken that no one else but me has to eat. Also, I get to listen to whatever music I like – I’m not sure how I’d go with compromising on that one point. The music thing is a biggy – I’ve said in the past that really, when it comes to being with someone, it’s not that important. I’m very seriously reassessing that, because holy moly, if I dig a person and then find out they like 10CC, I might cry. Or, if they said they couldn’t stand Sufjan Stevens, I’d have to call the whole thing off.

But, even having said all that, I sometimes think it would be nice. There was some crappy movie that I think had Ben Affleck in it that made a reference to having a ‘last call of the day’ or something similar. Someone who thinks of you before they end their day, and someone who is thinking about you more often than they think about anything else.

I’m feeling particularly raw tonight and I think if someone put the boot in I’d stay curled on the ground in a foetal position and never get up. Listening to Songs: Ohia is probably not helping this.

Oh and???

If You See Light makes all of Get Lonely okay. Even JD’s voice on Wild Sage. I’m fairly certain I could listen to this song straight for the next 2 weeks and not get sick of it.

A bad dream shook me in my sleep

August 20th, 2006

Okay, writing this is pretty much going to slay me, but here goes???


I just don’t know about Get Lonely, the new album by the Mountain Goats.


Without fail, every Mountain Goats album I’ve heard has grabbed me by the heart strings first listen. Perhaps it was wrong to assume this would happen with every album they released, but there is something distinctly different about this one. To begin with, John Darnielle sings a lot of the tracks on the album in almost a falsetto, ala Dinu Limpati’s Bones from The Sunset Tree. One track on an album? Fine. More than one track is honestly not cool. His voice is not what you’d call classic, and that’s partly what I love about it. It’s raw and insistent and so passionate. When he goes for the high pitched, soft crooning, the indie whine turns into an out and out whine.


Man, it is killing me to write this.


One thing I’ve always loved about Darnielle’s song writing is his ability to get straight to the point using beautiful language and amazing metaphor. He can set a scene and portray a feeling more eloquently, succinctly and effectively than almost any other songwriter (and even poet) I’ve heard. He writes so that you can feel yourself there, smell the wood rotting, taste the alcohol, and feel the gut wrenching heart break. I feel like on this one I’m missing the point. The language is beautiful, sure, and speaking on relative terms this album is still amazing lyrically. It’s just that there is no real theme here. I’ve listened to it through 3 times now and I’m not sure of the story he’s telling. There’s an overall feeling of loneliness and missing someone, also being reflective and saying goodbye to ghosts. I guess in context (factoring in The Sunset Tree) this makes sense, and the theme is still there even if it is more subtle.


Maybe the mistake I’m making is to compare this to other Mountain Goats albums. Maybe if I were measuring it against everything else I’ve listened to, or on its own, without having heard any of the others, my feelings would be different. I can’t do that though.


Perhaps, considering where this album falls in the Goats’ catalogue, all this makes sense. The Sunset Tree was the first autobiographical album from a steadfastly non-autobiographical writer. The demons he came to terms with throughout the writing of that album are clear to anyone who listens to it. Perhaps that’s why this album is different – all the pent up anger, and hurt, or whatever it is he had in him, has gone. He’s left with whatever this album is. As I’ve already said, I’m not sure I know what that is yet.


Also different is the fact that this album is named after one of the tracks within. This is decidedly rare amongst Mountain Goats albums. I also miss the liner notes that are usually there – never, ever lyric sheets (because that’s not how Darnielle rolls) but there’s usually some funny little story, or a quote from someone I’ve never heard of, or a shout out to someone who helped him with the album. There’s only this, written around the inside hole of the CD itself -


On the wall there is a calendar. A flight of geese is passing near a mountain lit by moon. I will give up this house also, and his shape. James Krusoe.


I’m late to the Mountain Goats bandwagon, but I can fairly confidently say I’ve put the work in and caught up fairly quickly. I would have loved to see some of his live shows, say, 5 years ago when he would have been playing some of his older stuff because he rarely pulls a lot of it out now. The song that sucked me in in the first place was This Year – it’s a thematic anthem that you can relate to right away, with great story telling and a catchy tune. A lot of my favourite songs of theirs are like this – powerful, lyrically driven tunes that you can belt out at the top of your lungs. No Children for example is equal amounts brutal and beautiful. The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton, Up The Wolves, Cubs In Five, The Recognition Scene, Source Decay. Perhaps this says more about my taste rather than his recent song writing.


What I’m trying to say (less than successfully) is there is only really one song like this on this album. The rest, to me, sounds quiet, understated and meandering. He’s writing from a much less bitter place, which is good for him, but I miss the brutal, acidic lyrics that smack you up the side of the head when you first hear them.


Reading all that back it actually sounds pretty terrible. It’s not, it’s just that I tend to work myself up to sky high expectations when it comes to the musicians I obsess about, and re-evaluating can be tough. It’s definitely not all bad. The two tracks I’d heard before I got the album, Woke Up New and Half Dead, are very good. Woke Up New is beautiful in fact. The title track, Get Lonely, is soft and sad, and I relate to it more than I wish I did. The stand out track for me so far is If You See Light. It’s the most upbeat and musically powerful track on the album, and pretty much blew me away first listen.


Also evident on this album is his extended use of a band. He’s been working into this, ever since his first sometimes straggling band effort on Tallahassee. There were a lot of strings on The Sunset Tree, and again on Get Lonely the strings play a major part of the compositions of a lot of the songs. The cello is glorious on some tracks and the drums play a pretty important role on two tracks at least. I really like what he’s done with the instrumentation this time around.


I’m going to listen to it a lot over the coming weeks and maybe this’ll all change. Also, I’d really like to find the lyrics written down somewhere, so that I can pay better attention – the normal site I go for lyrics doesn’t have them up yet.


I’m a little disappointed, sure, but I’m also relieved about this reaction in a way. After hearing Reprieve for the first time I was worried that the only reason I loved it right away was because of how ridiculously biased I am about anything DiFranco produces. I came to this Mountain Goats album with ears open at least as wide, so it’s nice to know I can still be discriminate about these things.


Having said all of this, given half a chance, I’d still thank Mr Darnielle wholeheartedly. Mainly for how prolific he is – rarely do fans need to wait more than a year for a new album. Also, without fail he writes from a place most other songwriters fail to go – this is the reason I came to his music and the reason I’ll be a crazyfangirl for a long while yet.

Well…

August 19th, 2006

I got nothin’.

Except to say that the support act last night was a one-handed digeridoo player. And there was a string quartet with a bass beat playing Vivaldi (the Spring movement of the Four Seasons, of course) and Bolero. Weird weird weird.

It’s 11 on a Saturday and I’m going to bed. This is what happens when you average around 4 hours sleep a night for almost a week.

Just so you know

August 19th, 2006

I found my Moo, You Bloody Choir and One Crowded Hour CDs. You call all stop looking.

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