April 27, 2005

played video games in a drunken haze

* From Harper's May 2005 edition:

-- Average amount the Bush Administration has spent per year on contracts with P.R. firms: $62,500,000

-- Average amount spent during the second term of the Clinton Administratiion: $32,000,000

-- Average number of East Germans who died each year trying to cross to West Germany: 18

-- Average number of Mexicans who have died each year since 2000 trying to cross to the United States: 407

-- Minimum number of cows whose skins are used each year for Major League baseballs: 45,000

-- Percentage by which this exceeds the seating capacity of Wrigley Field: 14

-- Number of full-time reporters for ESPN who are covering only Barry Bonds: 1

-- Number of U.S. Newspapers with a full-time reporter in Afghanistan: 2

-- Year that Boise, Idaho, banned full nudity in public unless it had "serious artistic merit:" 2001

-- Number of nights each week that a Boise strip clup now distributes sketch pads and pencils: 2

* Chickfactor interviews Keren Ann. excerpt:

cf: were you in a metal or punk band?

keren: oh, all of those. we played at places like... here we would call it a biker pub but in france it's not even that. once the drummer david who still plays with me almost got in a fight with some guy who wanted to go on stage with us and dance and jump around. we were looking for a sound. you always want to be in a band, especially when you're 18 and you want to try stuff and you want to scream. and then you come home and light the candle and you have your guitar and you just sing folksongs and that's when you're happy and it sounds right but it stays in your room. the music you make is the music you always come back to. you go out of your way to make it bigger, to make it more beautiful, but you don't go out of your way to make it different from who you are. songwriting is just something that comes out naturally. it was a big mistake for me to try and scream but I had to go through that.

cf: what's your favorite serge song?

keren: it would be a mixture of 'ballad de melodie nelson' or 'jane b.' I'm crazy about all his periods except maybe I like the reggae albums less, except 'sorry angel' is a very, very beautiful song. the other songs on the album I like less. 'je t'aime...moi non plus' was played in holland on radio—it was shocking everywhere else but in holland they would just play it, without even understanding what it was about. the sound of it was so—the sound of the drums, the sound of the bass—you don't realize it's that, you just know it's something else. for you this is french. but it's actually french artists inspired by british sounds. it's funny but all his work...there's always a sound to what he's done. what he wanted to hear was very tasteful.

cf: did you ever meet him? I don't know how old you are but you look about 22.

keren: I'm 30. thank you though.

cf: have you met jane [birkin]?

keren: yes, I've met jane. she had a special tv show once where she was singing his songs and she invited me to sing 'babe alone in babylon' with her. she's a fantastic lady. a real english rose.

cf: how famous are you in paris?

keren: depends what you call fame. nobody talks to me in the street. people come up and say nice words. there is a buzz. people look but it's not fame in terms of hysteria. it's more—I am lucky enough to release a record and know that a certain amount of people will buy it. which will allow me record a new one. I've been recording one record a year plus my band side project. I'm very privileged because I know that if I play in certain places they will be filled. if I get a project out it will be bought. so it's not many people but it's enough people to let me live off music and permit me to make more.

cf: have you ever met françoise hardy?

keren: we have dinner every other wednesday. we write each other. I had the privilege of meeting her after my first record was released. it was a dinner that was supposed to be official but we tried to make unofficial and we talked about everything—you know when you've heard someone so much. she's way too generous. we talk about love, books, rarely about songs. I'm very privileged because she became a friend and she's an extremely intelligent woman who gives a lot of good advice—not about music, just about life. she's very funny. I'm very privileged to get to know her.

* An Annotated Inferno
--- by Beth Woodcome

I see my birth, covetous as smoke,
devour me. It’s a victory that repeats itself.

If someone is calling my name I can’t hear it.

The creak of the world’s shoulder
turning: the only sound of the last door
opening.

On the balcony, where all ecstasy should
happen, kneeling will be my last pleasure.

If someone is calling to me, I’ve forgotten it.
If so, ask me my sorrows.

Are you frightened?

I’m alive and I want someone
else to do it for me.

How did you wake?

Someone has always been
saving my life.

Tell me your joy.

Someone is calling to me.

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