August 28, 2006

Half the whole town gone for the summer

Pierre Huyghe, This is not a Time for Dreamin, 2004

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"4. Joe Lieberman

"Apparently Joe Lieberman thinks his campaign needs 'retooling,' although I find it a little hard to believe that he's not enough of a tool already. But apparently a retooling it is, and so last week Joe hired 'a nationally known pollster and media consultant to assist in his independent re-election bid.'

"According to the Associated Press, Lieberman's new pollster is Republican Neil Newhouse, 'who lists two key Connecticut Republicans, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, among his clients.'" Hmm. I'm assuming this is pure coincidence, but according to the Hartford Courant last week, Joe Lieberman appeared with 'two prominent Republicans, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd, to celebrate last year's reversal of a Pentagon decision to close the Groton submarine base.'

"Now, for those of you who think that Joe swanning around with "prominent Republicans" might hurt Connecticut Democrats' chances of picking up House seats in November, you might be right. But it's okay, because as a staunch "independent Democrat" Joe is doing everything he can to make sure Democrats win in the fall. According to the New Haven Independent:

Lieberman - who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election - was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.

'I'm a non-combatant,' Lieberman declared. 'I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it's better if I just focus on my own race.'

"That's the spirit, Joe. Don't want to hurt your new buddy Rob Simmons' feelings now, do we?"

* Such a wonderful woman. excerpt:

"Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that God did not intend for the United States to be a 'nation of secular laws' and that the separation of church and state is a 'lie we have been told' to keep religious people out of politics.

"'If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,'Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She cited abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of that sin.

"Harris, a candidate in the Sept. 5 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said her religious beliefs 'animate' everything she does, including her votes in Congress.

"Witness editors interviewed candidates for office, asking them to describe their faith and their positions on certain issues.

"Harris has always professed a deep Christian faith. But she has rarely expressed such a fervent evangelical perspective publicly.

"Political and religious officials responded to her published remarks with outrage and dismay."

* Darnielle speaks about Get Lonely. excerpt:

"So when I sat down to write a new record, I didn't really know what to do. At first I tried just writing stories, like I'd always done: I began a cycle of songs about an imaginary religious cult in the Austrian wilderness, which went nowhere, and a projected group of songs about monsters, which sort of lit the way for where I eventually went.

"But most of what I was doing felt kind of hollow to me. For a while - I have the never-to-see-daylight sound files on my computer to prove it - I just kept writing whatever came to mind. But the songs seemed like formal exercises, only occasionally interesting, and lacking the blood-and-muscle energy that had made 'The Sunset Tree' work both for me and for other people.

"I don't panic if I can't write something good for a while; I don't really believe in writer's block so much as I think that sometimes you're on and sometimes you're not. I was on tour when I finally hit the vein - and it surprised me.

"I get very emotional on tour sometimes because I miss my wife, and because the basic activities of my daily life get replaced by a far less stabilizing routine. I get depressed. I had gone out on tour with the idea of writing a song or two, but in a Holiday Inn Express in King of Prussia, Penn., 'Get Lonely' rather aggressively announced its own shape.

"The room was itself quite alienating: all fluorescent lighting, a window looking out on a freeway, and a location across the street from one of the largest shopping malls in the free world. We were between engagements and had booked the room for three nights. Peter and I both began to feel alienated rather quickly. I couldn't sleep - I do not sleep well on tour - but I can't really write songs when there's somebody sleeping in the bed next to mine, so when I woke up before dawn on our first morning there, I lay in the dark brooding.

"By the time Peter went to shower after 10, I'd been thinking about bad dreams and sleeplessness and what it's like to be alone for several hours. I don't like to write when other people are listening, so I quickly wrote and recorded a demo of "Maybe Sprout Wings," a song that tries to split the difference between several aspects of feeling alone: the claustrophobia, but also its mirror image, that feeling that there's an endless open frozen plain with nobody else in sight for miles."
"There had been something in the personal responses of audiences and correspondents that made a total return to older styles seem dishonest. These songs did not feel dishonest. They came from some sad and frightened place, and felt like natural heirs to their predecessors.

"Before we left King of Prussia, I had also written 'Woke Up New,' and when I got home I looked at the monster songs: three of them turned out to have been waiting for companions to give them context. The six remaining songs came at the rate of about one a week for the next month and a half. There were others - some are on the cutting room floor, some didn't get recorded at all - but the 12 that survived seemed to come from a deeper and truer place.

"Writing with these priorities in mind is a new thing for me because I used to put all my focus on just telling a good story and trust any issues of tone to resolve themselves. New priorities replacing old ones is the constant process of writing for me; maybe this time next year I'll want to write about imaginary kingdoms under the Earth instead of flesh-and-blood people walking desperately across its surface.

"But for this album, and for all the people who responded so openly to the last album, the latter felt like the only real option available."


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