January 1, 2009

I could have been someone
well so could anyone

Wingate Paine, Mirror of Venus, 1964

* The New Yorker profile of Will Oldham concludes:

"In discussions with Drag City, Oldham sometimes referred to 'Lie Down in the Light' as 'LIDL,' or 'the little record,' partly because he knew that he wouldn’t be doing much to promote it. In March, he plans to release 'the big record,' a deeply satisfying album called 'Beware,' which conjures a mood of resolution, maybe even finality. (In the stately country song 'I Don’t Belong to Anyone,' he amplifies the title of his 1993 début album: 'I don’t belong to anyone, there’s no one who’ll take care of me / It’s kind of easy to have some fun when you don’t belong to anyone.') He intends to promote the album with singles, a photo shoot, and a handful of interviews, if only to prove that record promotion doesn’t really work, at least not for him.

"He is inspired, and challenged, by the example of Merle Haggard. 'He’s writing and singing better than he ever has,' Oldham says. 'And it’s just like, well, there’s no excuse, then. You can’t just say that it goes away, or that the music industry kills it, or whatever.' He also likes the idea of stopping, content in the knowledge that he has done what he came to do. But he knows that he has contemplated quitting before. 'Sometimes,' he says, 'we need to tell ourselves that we’re not going to do certain things, just in order to stay sane.'

"As night fell, the conversation turned to the indie-rock industry that supports Oldham, and the indie-rock community that he keeps at arm’s length. These days, it is, to a large extent, a world sustained by bars (where the musicians circulate) and the Internet (where the music circulates), both of which Oldham dislikes. He’s always looking for ways to widen his circle: he’d love to get in the studio with R. Kelly, or spend a week watching Haggard work. And he resists the idea that, with his endless flow of obscurities and his maniacal fan base, he is one of the most blog-friendly musicians in the country. He asked, 'At that show last night, what do you think, eighty per cent of the people read blogs? Fifty? Thirty? Ten? Ninety?' There were certainly plenty of cameras, and, sure enough, on Monday morning the indie-rock Web site Pitchfork posted six photographs and a brief write-up.

"He went out to the minivan to retrieve something: a book of his lyrics, handprinted and bound by a woman in West Virginia. 'There were supposed to be three hundred,' he said. 'But a couple of pages got fucked up, so I think there are about two hundred and seventy-five or so. And I’ve just given them away, because I don’t know how to sell ’em—you know, I don’t want them to end up on eBay.' He proffered a copy, with an inscription inside: 'K. GOOD LUCK. BPB.' But it was clear that he wasn’t feeling entirely optimistic about having agreed to a magazine profile. 'My mother’s a huge fan, and I really liked that Merle piece, but definitely there’s already . . .' He trailed off. 'I don’t know. I really hate press. And it’s . . . yeah.'"

* The Cut Ups: Videos for New Year's Eve and All That's Left, by YouTube user fcbridge.

* Jim O'Rourke authors this months Top Ten in Art Forum.

* "But what is the difference between literature and journalism? ...Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all." -- Oscar Wilde


Blogger B.more.Art said...

The Pogues. Fairytale of New York.

10:27 AM  

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