Monday, March 10, 2008


It seems my resolution to write about albums, pairing 1968 and 1978 -- 40 and 30 years ago, respectively -- has fallen by the wayside. I'm not sure why, but neither of those two years is forming a big draw on my imagination at the moment. As it is I don't really want to be reminded of May '68, as will no doubt happen a few months from now, nor do I want to reminisce about the fiasco of the '68 Democratic Convention as that always somehow disappointing political party grinds toward the conclusion of Campaign 2008. And '78? Whatever that year meant to me personally has been more or less told -- in distorted fictional fashion -- in Between Days. So why belabor the music of that year when in fact the music that mattered most to me at the time, with rare exceptions, was released in the '67 to '75 window?

But, excuses aside, I still feel a lack on this here blog. Talking books and films is one thing, but there should be some acknowledgment, at least monthly, of the art form that has provided the glue of my very being, that put the "elf" in myself, or something. So I think I'm going to take a cue from my blogging friend who has been writing up his entire collection of 45s and devise a scheme for cataloging, commenting as I go. No, hold on, I'm not going to start commenting on every damn album I own -- my record player's not functioning properly anyway, so vinyl is temporarily off-limits -- nor every CD. But it strikes me as possible to just go down the list of bands I own CDs by, indulging in that oddly autobiographical and confessional mode that seems to spring to the fore whenever we start talking about the music we buy and listen to. It's even more revealing than sordid tales of our lovers, y'know, because passing few of us (I suspect) are as promiscuous in our choice of bed partners as we are in our choice of what we stick in our CD players and in our ears.

Some people might find similar thrills of self-exposure in writing about their diet, or their ailments, or their family members (no pun intended), but for me -- make mine music! It's the only way to attest to the truth of that line in the film Hi-Fidelity which I assume is also in the novel: "Fetish properties are not unlike porn." Amen. I was in a CD store this past Sunday, on the first day of Daylight Savings, and that's what it was like, some profane combination of church confessional and adult video booth. We were all peeking into a world that might get us off, might redeem us, might offer temptation or salvation. Which makes me think -- not fortuitously, since I've got to re-commence the stalled Pynchon critical commentary apparatus or else (else what? interesting question, whatever whatever nevermind, as someone said) -- of this passage from The Crying of Lot 49, set in a radio studio and depicting Mucho Maas

looking through the soundproof glass at one of his colleagues with a headset clamped on and cueing the next record with movements stylized as the handling of chrism, censer, chalice might be for a holy man, yet really tuned in to the voices, voices, the music, its message, surrounded by it, digging it, as were all the faithful it went out to . . .

Yeeeeah. And this one goes out to the one I love, and the message is the medium. In any case, I'm just gonna listen to a CD by whoever is next on the alphabetical list and comment accordingly, at whatever intervals I deem suitable. And in this way shall the days and months pass, and thus shall the museum tour / montage / parade transpire. And, where applicable, I'll give credit to whoever was responsible for getting me to listen to a particular artist or definitive album as a way of tipping the phantom Panama to the tastes that have abetted the formation of mine.

Sounds like a plan, a way to register one's passing attention to what's past, and passing, and to come, as we go sailing to Byzantium...

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