May 20, 2004

I never tire of the solitary E

* Surprise, surprise: GAO claims Bush administration promotion of Medicare changes broke the law.

* From a 1996Thurston Moore interview of Patti Smith. excerpt:

TM: What's the first record you ever bought?

PS: Shrimp Boats by Harry Belafonte, Patience and Prudence doing The Money Tree, and, embarrassingly enough, Neil Sedaka's Climb Up. My mother bought me a box set of Madame Butterfly when I was sick. I got Coltrane's My Favorite Things. My mother was a counter waitress in a drugstore where they had a bargain bin of used records. One day she brought this record home and said, "I never heard of the fellow but he looks like somebody you'd like," and it was Another Side of Bob Dylan. I loved him. You see, I had devoted so much of my girlish daydreams to Rimbaud. Rimbaud was like my boyfriend. If you're 15 or 16 and you can't get the boy you want, and you have to daydream about him all the time, what's the difference if he's a dead poet or a senior? At least Bob Dylan... it was a relief to daydream about somebody who was alive.

TM: Did you ever see John Coltrane?

PS: Yes. Once in Philly in '63 when My Favorite Things came out. There were two jazz clubs right next to each other, Pep's and the Showboat. You had to be eighteen, so these people helped me get dressed up, trying to look older. I was basically a pigtails and sweatshirt kind of kid. So I got in for fifteen minutes and saw him and then they carded me and kicked me out. He did "Nature Boy." I was in such heaven seeing them, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, that I wasn't even disturbed that I got thrown out.

TM: I suppose youth culture was very familiar with jazz at that time.

PS: It was a small culture. Kids who were too young for the beat thing and too old for the Beatles got into jazz.

TM: Do you remember your first guitar?

PS: I saw this really old Martin in a pawn shop, it had a woven, colored strap and I loved it. I saved my money, but when I went back to get it, it was gone. So I bought a little Martin. I didn't know anything about tuning. I could never understand why my chords never sounded like the songs in my Bob Dylan song book. And then I met Sam Shepard and he showed me. He bought me this '30s black Gibson, which I still have. It's the same kind of guitar Robert Johnson plays.

* The Boston Phoenix on magnetic field's 'i'.

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