ACTs (Aesthetically Claimed Things): Mr. Neil Tennant and Mr. Chris Lowe, a.k.a. the Pet Shop Boys, whose laconic symphonic pop has powered countless exhibition reviews, catalogs, and poems. New double album out now!
I just googled the eBay address listed below, in order to better assess the suspect's feedback. Lots of glowing feedback from buyers, but just one recent feedback rating from a seller. What, I wondered, could a person with 19,347 hot books in their basement find on eBay that they didn't already own?
Kay Hooper's fine paperback original Lady Thief, for a start.
I don't make the news, I just report it, & etc.
Make Money Fast: Sell "New" Books on eBay!
"GLOUCESTER -- Gloucester County sheriff's investigators suspect they have a lot of hot reading on their hands.
They're trying to find out if any of the 19,347 books they seized from a Gloucester home April 10 are stolen. The day before, they charged Mary Ann Drake with shoplifting more than 120 books from the Super Wal-Mart in Gloucester, said Chief Deputy Mike Nicely.
An employee reported seeing her fill several plastic grocery bags with books and leave the store without paying on April 9. Drake also is awaiting trial on a charge of grand larceny in Newport News. Nicely said the charge involves the theft of books from a merchant.
After the raid at Drake's house, investigators learned that she had been dealing in books on the Internet market eBay since 1999, Nicely said. The name "nightgo" is registered to Drake by eBay, he said.
Deputies seized more than books from her home on Wakehurst Circle in the Gloucester Courthouse area. They removed four computers, 20 rolls of packing paper, rolls of clear packing tape, bubble wrap, financial records, 60 pairs of new socks and six collector-grade Barbie dolls."
Answers to your most pressing questions:
1. The bissett/Bowering/Reid reading went off without a hitch; full house of 60-odd people, and many books signed & sold. Details forthcoming.
2. The clubtread.com Wednesday walk around the Stanley Park seawall was unexpectedly pleasant; details in due course, and maybe a photo or two as well.
3. Yes, that really is my letter in Nationally Syndicated Sex Advice Column this week, signed just as these posts are.
Off for two days in the unseasonably warm and pleasant Vancouver spring. Manuscript, yellow lined legal pads, stuffed cats, hiking boots & etc.
(George Bowering, bill bissett, and Jamie Reid will be reading in Pulpfiction's tiny front room at 6pm sharp on Thursday evening; y'all come if you're in the neighborhood)
Here's a problem: what do you do when you're lyrically minded, write (primarily) in English prose, and don't swing? By which I mean, I've been spending day after day with this manuscript, looking back over things I once perceived as finished, thinking, Jesus, maybe it isn't too late to eradicate every copy in existence...
Two problems, actually:
1. That clause up above, "things I once perceived as finished," as plain a piece of lumber as you could want, flat pine board or off-the-shelf 2x4, read, in the first draft, "things I perceived as finished three or four months ago." Which is OK as far as conveying information goes, but then adopts this quacking tone that I detect in every first draft, and in much published work, too. Same thing with "every copy," which read, six or seven minutes back, "every copy of this." This st- st- st- stuttering tone, stating and re-stating and re-stating, just in case anyone missed the idea on the first go-round.
2. Building's an OK metaphor, so's bricklaying. Trades that consist of doing one thing properly, then the next, then the next, and suddenly there's a structure that won't fall down when you put your shoulder against it. A prose paragraph. I keep looking for admirable models of lyrical realism and coming up sadly short. Henry Green, George Orwell, the Updike who wrote the Rabbit books, Dubliners' Joyce, Zukofsky and Wallace Stevens. There are run-on sentences in Saul Bellow's Adventures of Augie March that make me shake my head in amazement every time I read them, but I don't have the showboating lyrical chops that Martin Amis repeatedly quotes in his great Atlantic essay on Augie. What's left? Compression, I guess, trying to pack each sentence dense with information, like the freeze-dried meals they sell down at Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Late 50s Miles, the way the trumpet illuminates the all the empty space around it. Or Carl Andre and Donald Judd, who wring astonishing changes out of 'minimal' materials through contextual placement, or variations of rhythm and scale. As opposed to, say, Ms. Stein and her disciple Mr. Hemingway, or their legions of sadly inbred kids' endless catalogs of "linguistic statements" which, taken together, supposedly constitute "meaning."
(One last model: Roald Dahl's short story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which, along with Danny, The Champion of the World are two books I remember very clearly from childhood, especially for Dahl's long, proto-Sebaldish illustrated essay, "How I Became a Writer", which I recall reading aged seven or eight or thereabouts, trying to figure out how its only apparent stylistic simplicity had been constructed. I've been reading a lot of Dahl lately, trying to pare Michelina's prose back into something approaching legibility, and his seamless construction of certain scenes -- Danny driving the Baby Austin to rescue his poacher father in the middle of the night; the little boy in "The Swan," tied on the rail tracks, waiting for the vibration of the oncoming train -- leaves me wide-mouthed, smitten all over again).
AGGRO RASCIST CRACKHEAD: Go back to your own fuckin' neighborhood!
IRATE BOOKSTORE CUSTOMER: My family lived in the east end for 100 years while your mother was turning tricks in Toronto!
Aerial Photographs of Mount Slesse under winter conditions, by Washington state photographer/pilot John Scurlock. These terrific images impress both the mountaineer and the photo critic in me. Check out that Upper NE Buttress!
"Weather seemed perfect the morning of the 19th, so I left a detailed flight plan with Karen and departed. Once aloft it was evident that strong wind out of the NE would be a factor.
I flew to Mt Larrabee and circled just south of the border at 8500'. I then contacted Vancouver Center (air traffic control), requested and got a clearance into Canadian airspace, to remain in contact with them for about 15 min., then proceeded NE while descending, crossing the SE ridge to begin circling N/NE of Slesse at about 7500', clockwise. (I would normally circle CCW but decided to go CW to stay to Slesse's N, out of turbulence downwind of the pk).
Once in position, I verified that I was at an altitude that would provide safe clearance over the N ridge, since I would cross it each time I circled. I set power to provide an airspeed of 100 to 110 MPH, since the route is in the shade and I knew the shutter speed might be a little slow. Faster speed can mean blurry shots in these situations.
With everything set up and stabilized, I began photographic passes. The camera was set in 'burst' mode, shooting off ten or so images in about five or six seconds. I was also using telephoto mode to provide some distance away from the N/NE face. A left bank is required to get the wing out of the picture. This results in a turn towards the mountain, another reason to stand away at a safe distance. Using this technique I made about eight or nine circuits. This is the same method I have used many times in the past to get shots of certain geological features or other climbing routes."
You're Cleared For Takeoff
"'FLY!', cried Michelina.
The dragon unfurled its wings. Huge, flickering, impossible to look at.
The whistle of an incoming cannon ball.
The dragon's wings accelerated, blurring out of focus, shrieking like an airliner ready for take-off.
Rope paying out over the side.
Michelina was abruptly jerked off her feet and out of the boat. A brief freezing shock. Salt water filled her nose and mouth. A huge explosion nearby made her whole body shake, and then she surfaced again, dragged along the surface of the sea like a waterskiier behind the still accelerating dragon, and then abruptly into the air, the ocean below her now, the shattered remains of the boat scattered across the waves.
Ten feet up, then twenty, thirty, forty! She caught a brief glimpse of Lady Genevra, the knights, and their horses dangling from ropes of their own. Another cannonball whistled by. Sixty feet now. Panicked birds erupted from the cliffs in squawking black clouds.
She grabbed the rope and began to squirm up it, keeping the slack tight between her thighs, as if climbing in gym class. A hundred feet now, the island's black sea-cliffs still rising beside them, the sharp angle showing no sign of relenting. The sea and the Duke's fleet spread out far below, like tabletop models.
One of the dragon's huge scaly feet loomed above her. She grabbed for it and scrambled up behind the furiously beating wings, holding onto the rope and the cracks in its scales until she reached its relatively level back. The noise from the wings was almost unbearable, like the amplified whine of a jet engine, but it diminished as she made her way forward, trying not to look down, until she was finally level with one of its ears."
My brother, Drew Brayshaw (a.k.a. dru), on location somewhere east of the Coast Range. Dru sent me a JPEG of a dead, partially rotted-out cow this evening, likely taken not so far from here, with a request to post it. Thanks anyway. But I am more than pleased to post this image, which looks more like its subject than just about any other likeness I've ever seen.
"There is a certain critical attention mountain dwellers must pay to the phenomena of their location. . . ."
(shamelessly pilfered from Stan Brakhage's Film Biographies (Turtle Island, Berkeley, 1977), notable for its Creeley, Dorn, and Guy Davenport introductions)
Local coffee bar, 9:45pm:
CB: ...and a large americano to go. I'm working late tonight.
COFFEE GAL: Oh? Whatcha doing?
CB: Working on my kids' book.
CG: Really! What's it about?
CB: (gives plot synopsis)
CG: That's a great idea! It's not like Madonna's book at all.
Apollinaire's Bookshoppe -- "selling the books that no one wants to buy"
"Looking at the dragon was like staring at the sun. Gaze into its eyes, or at its face, or any part of it, and you saw that it was composed of smaller pieces, and those of smaller pieces, too, the whole thing sizzling with movement, like TV snow, so you had to glance away or close your eyes, perhaps fearing that if you did not, the sight would permanently stamp itself on the back of your skull."
A little taste of things to come from Michelina. The dragon's friendly, and, though I didn't know it until this morning, when it first gazed down at the friends in their boat and addressed them, sounds like Bleak House's Mr. Tangle.
Not Noam Chomsky
Hipster in the coffee line-up, verbatim: "I have taken to writing on walls, windows and advertisements themselves, because communication has been monopolized."
Though I typically don't enjoy either appearing or speaking in public, you can find me at two different events this week. I'll be giving a brief introduction to Steven Shearer's work tonight at the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the annual VIVA awards hooplah, and, on Saturday afternoon, I'll be having a "public conversation" with Kim Kennedy Austin at the State Gallery stop on Canadian Art's Vancouver gallery hop.
Moominland Midwinter and Comet in Moominland home with me this evening. Working on Michelina again, trying hard for that truly Janssonesque blend of comedy and menace.
British Sea Power's Blackout, I-5 north, Everett --> Vancouver:
Welcoming the cool rain in of the astounding dawn
Watch the birds hovering over Narrow Moor
In deeper lines of deeper sleep, into the tumuli
All the pretty machinery under the sky
For you have drunk all your beer go drown your empty selves
For then you will have lost it all the last of this island
As you blackout
My love. . .
So bring it down, let it fall, into a drizzling bliss
Then we'll hyperventilate in the old forest
Then I will see all those things, things that can not be seen
For you have drunk all your beer, go drown your empty selves
For then you will have lost it all, the last of this island
As you blackout
My love. . . .
ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Wessel and Lieberman, Booksellers
The beach at Fort Casey State Park, Whidbey Island, WA.
David Burns, popularizer of the "cognitive mood therapy" program for persistant depression that my doctor enrolled me in last month suggests writing potential activities, and the pleasure you think you'll derive from them, down in advance, then checking your projected percentages against how you actually feel about the activity, post-completion.
Eg., missing Port Townsend ferry, walking park beach with Gavin for an hour and a half: 18% projected versus 93% actual.
Rising Up And Rising Down
William Vollmann shuffled into the dimly-lit reading room off the basement coffee bar at Elliott Bay Books around quarter after seven. A small, soft man, with strange, roughly chopped hair and eyes that point in slightly different directions. He read two chapters from his new novel, Europe Central, then took questions.
Hearing him describe An Afghanistan Picture Show as his most memorable failure did not exactly fill me, who had only brought that title, long a favorite, to the signing, with anything resembling confidence, but I wandered up afterward anyway, for a signature, drawing, and conversation.
I don't think Vollmann is a particularly great fiction writer, but I have read almost all of his nonfiction, some pieces repeatedly -- the Survival Research Labs chapter of the Rainbow Stories; much of The Atlas -- and having had a chance to talk to him I think I now understand why that writing means so much to me. Whereas the fiction is baroque and expressionistic, the nonfiction is, comparatively speaking, very plain, with Vollmann's subjects doing most of the talking, and his authorial interjections focusing on, in turn, the speaking subject, or things in the subject's immediate environment that support or reinforce what the subject is saying.
In other words, a reportorial technique that amounts to the minimization of self, and the integrity, when self does appear, to subject it to the same relentless scrutiny that he, in turn, subjects others to.
Vollmann asked me, and every other person in the signing line-up, detailed, probing questions about our signing choices. His uneven eyes watching carefully as I (& others) spoke. I have no doubt that if he were to recall, days or weeks after the fact, the signing, he would remember not only whole chunks of dialogue, but other, more telling details, too.
Busiest day since the week before Christmas. 15 people still browsing at 7:30pm!
Packing Internet orders now, Mr. Miles Davis' Seven Steps to Heaven on the deck.
1200 pocketbooks through the door at 11:15am sharp. Plus Japanese anime porn, a big stack of Black Sparrow Bukowskis, Lemony Snicket first editions ($125 to the startled woman and her kids who brought them in, fully expecting, in their words, "ten or fifteen bucks"), Bruce Chatwin hardcovers, Kerouac x many, hardcover Ginsberg firsts (sold instantly), Zizek trade paperbacks (ditto).
I took five minutes to browse while sweeping pink confetti-petals from the blooming trees outside back out the door. And felt, for once, briefly proud. Better stock on the shelves right now than ever before.
Out the door momentarily into the warm spring night for a movie date with SGB and her all-too-briefly-in-town sister, Vollmann's Afghanistan Picture Show and the Buffett Partnership letters in my bag.
See you all on Tuesday.
Off tomorrow to hear William Vollmann read at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. Back late. Instant replay on Tuesday.
Overheard at the till:
CUSTOMER WITH SHINY ASTRONAUT-STYLE JACKET: Yes, it's true, it's the closest I'll ever get to outer space.
MR. JOHN TWEED (thoughtfully): I should invite you inside my brain for a few minutes.
Are You Experienced?
Evidence of "retail experience" provided in a resume submitted across the counter:
"The Columbia Renaissance Festival, Columbia, MD
Counter Help / Peasant
Cooked and sold 'Knave Sandwiches,' turkey drumsticks, and frozen treats at an annual renaissance festival -- whilst speaking with an old-English accent."
Day off yesterday. Express bus to Richmond, several hours spent wandering round empty Steveston Village, then a stroll past the decommissioned cannery to Garry Point Park
A pleasant day in a landscape made for people and animals by people who knew what they were doing. (Richmond is full of little environmental flourishes like this -- even the city's award-winning civic hall (Hotson Bakker, Architects) is adorned with waterfalls, stepped terraces, and native plantings).
Fake vs. True Art -- got 30 seconds for this helpful ambush-interview of a quiz? Of course you do.
Thanks, Brad Feld!
Since 2000, I've been looking for the Buffett Partnership letters: the semiannual reports Warren Buffett wrote, circa 1957-69, to his earliest investors. Roger Lowenstein's excellent biography occasionally quotes from them, speaking highly of their "pimply honesty" and a "self-searching quality" that Lowenstein likens to their being written late at night, after everyone else in the house was asleep.
Several photocopies have shown up on ebay since 2000: all expensive, all obviously hawked by sharks, and all incomplete, with one or more years' worth of correspondence missing. I kept my wallet zipped.
Last night, running the same Google search I've been running ever since installing ADSL in the office in 2002, I ran across this post on Brad Feld's blog. My pulse jumped accordingly as I composed and emailed a polite request regarding the letters' availability as a MS Word file or as a PDF.
Less than 6 hours later, friendly return email from Mr. Feld and 140 pages of text, which I'm just about to dig into.
One proviso: I will not be posting material from the letters to Anodyne, as Warren Buffett has indicated that while samizdat-style trading is perfectly OK with him, republication or resale is not. (Another strike against those ebay sharks!)
Anyone who would like a copy of their own is welcome to email me, subject to the restrictions outlined above.
Thanks, Brad Feld! Thank you very much.
Happy Birthday to Mosses From An Old Manse
Cudos to South Wellington's Peter Culley, whose 2-year-old blog is never less than interesting (film 'n music notes) and often superb (art-crit, new poems, miscellaneous "landscape notes"). One of the few essential daily reads here at Main & Broadway.
From Pete's "Book of Hugh," a few lightly-reformatted-by-Blogger's-terrible-WYSWYG-interface lines compacting all the above together:
an unseasonal squall, a 'gesture'
(as in painting ca. 198-)--
a runny mustard splat, a pig's
black tail, a little silver
hurricane, an omni-browed
sleeve notes tell
a different story: puppyish
beneath sugary eastern elms,
exalted sleep, smeared mountains beyond
the desk, foreground's
heap of sulphur bestrides
the bridge's sexy parabola,
grainy against an edge
that is no edge
at all. Would seek therefore
a motive for its use, would
through the thick mantle
between us, the branch's
shadow on the shade moves
and is a bird
or isn't--too big
for a leaf certainly, though
similarly launched; inattention
fluid also, subject to
Day off. In a used bookstore somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (geography deliberately obscured so as not to identify or offend CP, who I know as an otherwise bright and knowledgeable guy).
CB + CP: Gossip, gossip, gossip. Shoptalk, shoptalk. Gossip gossip gossip.
PHONE: Ring, ring.
CP: (apropos of nothing, grabbing phone and hurling it against the wall hard enough to crack the receiver, as casually as you or I might pick up a coffee cup) I'm...not...answering...that fucking thing!
The Oracle of Omaha's Latest Riddle -- NYT writer Timothy O'Brien checks in from Omaha, with some thoughtful analysis of the ongoing AIG scandal, and some local color.
"The offices of America's second-richest man are at the corner of 36th and Farnam Streets, overlooking this city where he was born and educated and where he married, raised his children, mourned his wife's recent death and still resides.
Upstairs, on the 14th floor, a hallway in Berkshire's modest headquarters is adorned with wildlife photographs taken by Mr. Buffett's son Howard. Trinkets from Berkshire companies and investments fill a glass case in a small, quiet waiting room: a toy dog with a copy of The Buffalo News in its jaws; two dolls dressed in Victorian clothing and holding See's candies; toy race cars stamped with the logos of Geico Insurance and Fruit-of-the-Loom; a small bottle of Coca-Cola; a Wells Fargo stagecoach. One shelf displays a red and white University of Nebraska football helmet, signed by the players. A little plaque on another shelf advises that, 'A fool and his money are soon invited everywhere.'"
Exchange at the counter:
STAFF: Okay, that book's on its way up from Kits for you. What's your name?
CUSTOMER #1: Sunshine.
CUSTOMER #2: Is your name really Sunshine?
CUSTOMER #1: Uh...yep.
CUSTOMER #2: I'm Rain, like the weather. Pleased to meet you, Sunshine.
Stephen Shore at Houk Gallery, NYC -- 4 pages of thumbnail images from Uncommon Places, not the world's best reproductions, but a representative sample of this terrific extended series.
Not Christopher Williams
Brochure text for my friend Chris Williams' exhibition at Xeno Gallery across the street. Not the LA-based conceptual artist of the same name, though frequently mistaken for him.
Chris Williams In & Outside The Studio
by Christopher Brayshaw
(AM radio edit)
I first met Chris Williams when I moved into Mount Pleasant in June 2000. A year or two later I saw an exhibition of his paintings at Cuppa Joe's 4th Avenue store, deep in Kitsilano's dark heart. I recall their striking figurative content (guns, fetish & goth culture) and their flat "graphic" look; though painted, their designs would have worked just as well as silkscreens or lithographs. Last year for the East Side Culture Crawl there were some more paintings (guns; a naked man's prostrate silhouette; collaged newspaper headlines concerning the US-lead invasion of Iraq) and an accomplished pencil drawing of the historic Lee Building, home of the artist's apartment.
The drawing was more detailed and more thoughtfully developed than the paintings; Chris' personality shone through what basically amounted to a tongue-in-cheek self-portrait. I remember telling him at the time how much I liked it, and that I hoped he would continue to develop his work in this straight forward autobiographical way, a hope definitely fulfilled by his new exhibition at Xeno.
Williams found Xeno Gallery's tiny hallway divided in half by the gallery's previous occupant, the artist Lisa Prentice. In one room he has recreated his home office with its desk, task chair, computer keyboard and monitor, whose screensaver presents an informal snapshot slideshow of Williams, his partner, and their extended community of friends. Scattered around the desk and computer are bills (student loan collection documents; a cable bill), dental x-rays promising painful and expensive surgery to come, a pinboard covered in notes and exhibition announcements. a skateboard, and, on the afternoon I visited, Williams' jacket, slung casually over the chair.
A door divides the 'office' from an improvised 'studio' space in the rear, where, on opening night, Williams will be painting, and where, for the rest of the exhibition, some of his finished pictures will be placed in storage, while more recent works, including some still in progress, will be hung or propped against the wall.
The Xeno installation elegantly and humorously defines the quandary of any young artist who was not able to develop a commercially viable practice during their time at school. It's easy to find the time for art while still a student, and less so after graduation, when adult life's demands relentlessly bear down, focusing your attention not on aesthetics, but on economic survival. The insultingly neutral language of the student loan collection notice or the service fee on the cable bill are tools designed to redirect your attention from economically unproductive pursuits – skateboarding, playing music, socializing with friends or painting – to a sustained (and, needless to say, subservient) engagement with capitalism's machinery.
Williams' installation acknowledges that one's identity as an artist is often subsumed to the more immediate demands of other roles: friend, lover, professional coffee roaster. Often, the identity of artist is reserved for nights and weekends, or relegated to the solitude of the messy studio, where the door is always closed, blocking out bosses' demands and creditors' calls and enabling you to focus, however briefly, on "aesthetic issues." Some artists come to treasure the quiet space of the studio so much that they permanently retreat into "art for art's sake" and excursions into fantasy realms that serve as a thin veneer of solace over the frequently difficult and painful world outside.
Williams does not choose this route. His studio door is always open. The paintings and the student loan documents are separated by a hair's breath, just far enough apart for each to accentuate the other. The office/gallery dichotomy proposes a life that is not always easy – no shortage of problems in art or in the world outside! – but one that is ultimately navigatable with the care and humor that Chris Williams brings to both sides of his art practice.
Rockin' out with Mr. Jonathan Richman and seasonal affective disorder in the rain:
Love Me Like I Love
la la dum da da da lum
la la la da dum dum da dum ah oh ah oh
I want people to love me like I can love
want people to love me like I love
I want to open up my lunch box
and find a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in there
just like when I was 6 years old and someone loved me
oh loved me oh loved me like I love
bum bum bum
da da dum dum da da dum dum
la la la, la da da da , da da, da dum
love me like I love
love me like I love
well now when I was 6 years old I never dreamed
I would grow up to feel lonely, to feel lonely
oh love me like I love
bum bum bum
da da dum dum da da dum dum
la la la, dun da dun da da da, da da da da he
da da dum dum da da dum dum
la la la, dun da dun yeah oh yeah
love me like I love
i said love me like I love
well now when I was 6 years old I never dreamed
I would grow up to feel isolated, isolated no
love me like I love
da da dum dum da da dum dum
la la la, dun da dun da dum da da dum
dum da da da
da da dum dum la la dum dum
la da dadun, dun da da dun la da
I said love me like I love
love me like I love
yeah love me like the way I can love
when I was 6 years old I didn't dream
that I'd grow up to feel all isolated, no
Thirteen Paragraphs and A Footnote On Adam Harrison's 365 Sketches
(extended remix version)
by Christopher Brayshaw
13. Under these circumstances, the Wallace Stevens injunction I began with acquires a special meaning. If the basic conventions of Western art production and receivership are, in a sense, fixed in place, then the only thing that can save a project like Harrison's from falling into conceptual repetition and, eventually, into mannerism, is the consciousness of the individual photographer, his perception of and uninflected presentation of the "extraordinary reality" of the everyday, a reality that Adam Harrison's extraordinary sketch photographs limn and make visible.
For a while, I was trying to list and comment on every book I finished, which quickly proved overwhelming and futile. So here's a short list of every monograph-size book I've actually finished since mid-January, with particularly remarkable titles indicated in red.
Buffett, by Roger Lowenstein
Origins of the Crash, by Roger Lowenstein
Collected Essays, Letters & Journalism, v.1, by George Orwell
The Algebraist, by Iain Banks
Uncommon Places, by Stephen Shore
Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami
Oracle Night, by Paul Auster
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity, by Alexander Alberro
Light, by M. John Harrison
Red Mars and Green Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
In Nevada, by David Thomson
The Weather, by Lisa Robertson
October magazine, issue 110, all 150 pages of it, especially Claire Bishop's terrific "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics."
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
But Beautiful, by Geoff Dyer
The Fabulous Clipjoint, by Fredric Brown
Books that defeated me between January and March include How to Write by Gertrude Stein, LA MOCA's Sam Durant catalog, and Adorno's Aesthetic Theory.
Currently reading (on alternating days): Chris Bonington's Annapurna South Face, Aime Tschiffely's Southern Cross to Pole Star (Century Travellers, now lamely retitled Tschiffely's Ride), and Benjamin Buchloh's Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry.
Grey Wednesday off.
Large americano and the New York Times.
2000 words of art criticism (Adam Harrison's 365 Sketches), in longhand, blue Bic stickpen on lined yellow newsprint pad, with brief excursions into Walter Benjamin ("A Little History of Photography"), Peter Galassi (Before Photography), Fred Orton (Figuring Jasper Johns, for a Johns sketchbook quote that turned out not to be there, but I didn't realize that until I'd skimmed the whole book), Paul Auster (Collected Prose, for a Wallace Stevens quote, which actually was there) and the Random House Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (limn, sketch).
False Creek ferry to Granville Island.
Americano, and a maple iced ring from Lee's Donuts in the market, home of the best doughnuts in North America.
Retrieved an Ian Wallace photograph (limited edition: 11/25) from the Charles Scott Gallery at the art school. Lugged it home on the ferry.
Walked to Book & Comic Emporium in search of the Century Travellers Series (Arrow Books, London, zillions of titles and terrific editorial taste. The Black Lizard Books of the travel world).
Bus to work.
2000 words of art criticism revision + typing it all into the frequently crashing office computer + computer rebooting + helping John run the till.
(I realize how much this sounds like a Doug Coupland-esque caricature of a hard day's work on the West Coast, but that's actually how this warm grey Wednesday went down. Just the facts, ma'am).
Mitch Hedberg, in memoriam:
"I was in downtown Boise, Idaho, and I saw a duck, and I knew the duck was lost, 'cause ducks ain't s'posed to be downtown. There's nothin' for 'em there. So I went to a Subway sandwich shop, I said, "Let me have a bun." But she wouldn't sell me just the bun, she said that I had to have something on it. She told me it's against regulations for Subway to sell just the bun. I guess the two halves ain't supposed to touch. So I said, "Alright, well, put some lettuce on it," which she did. She said, "That'll be $1.75." I said, "It's for a duck." And they said, "All right, well, that is free." See, I did not know that. Ducks eat for free at Subway! Had I known that, I would have ordered a much larger sandwich. "Let me have the Steak Fajita Sub - but don't bother ringing it up, it's for a duck! There are six ducks out there, and they all want Sun Chips!"
That little yellow guy gets around! Untitled (Balloon), cheerfully pilfered from my friend Evan Lee's excellent website. UBC art historian William Wood, Mosses From An Old Manse's Pete Culley and I are all busy writing essays on Evan's photographs for his upcoming "career retrospective" at North Vancouver's Presentation House Gallery this fall. (Yet another excuse for all the cut-'n-paste that repeatedly passes for "fresh content" here at Anodyne).
Nice to know I'm not the only one to take stuffed friends mountaineering (photo credit: clubtread.com regular jimbo)
tcj.com message board regular Robert Cook waxes unexpectedly lyrical:
"Where's your punk ethic, brah?! Get a lettering stencil and a fabric marker and make your own t-shirt, speak truth to power, baby!!"
Netdisaster.com -- inflict damage on your least-favorite websites, with or without sound effects. Just launched "Mars Attacks" on indigo.ca.
Tintin's shark submarine comes to life, courtesy a Cousteau grandchild (thx dru).
An exhausting but ultimately worthwhile day. 40 liquor store boxes of B-grade stock cleaned and sorted, a full set of Terry Pratchett pocket books in through the door, and reasonably good sales. Plus a walk to the credit union in the middle of the day. Cold, more like mid-January than early April. Light rain falling, and a chilly wind snapping at the street banners.
Writing a short essay on Adam Harrison's 365 Sketches, so don't expect to see me here for a day or two. I'll post the essay once it's finished.
ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Mr. Neil Young, musician and role model. Jimmy McDonough's Shakey the best introduction I know to Young's unrivalled independence and freedom of mind. Heal up, Neil!
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