October 12, 2010

As we go up we go down

Rafal Karcz, 1970, 2008

* From an interview of Franz Wright:

The influence of music on me personally and I hope very much on my writing has been incalculable. That is one incredibly fortunate thing about my upbringing, which, as I think I have hinted, was mostly a botched improvisation on my part, as my parents were too busy being lunatics to be of much practical assistance. However, they did love me, and that is something. Anyway, one wonderful thing was the constant presence of classical music in the house, as my father spent almost as much time listening to it and forcing me to listen to it as he did reciting Shakespeare and forcing me, thank God, to listen to it, until he departed when I was six or seven.

I loved music, have always loved and physically hungered for music, of every kind. As a child I used to mentally improvise classical music in my mind to fall asleep—it never occurred to me that this might not be a normal activity, and at four I was playing little Mozart pieces and so forth on the piano, and studied classical and jazz trumpet between ages 10 and 15, when I gave it and everything else up for poetry. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan when I was in fourth grade in San Francisco, and from the first note of that weirdly joyous music I burst into tears and—like every other child in the country—was never the same again. I attended high school between 1967 and 1971 and lived in northern California. I was at Altamont, along with just about every other teenager in the Bay Area at the time. As a teenager, I was of course heavily under the influence of the astonishing range of very great young rock musicians and composers of the time, and remember going to hear Neil Young at Winterland Ballroom a lot, as well as the free concerts the Grateful Dead put on in Golden Gate Park. As an adult I developed a love of every conceivable form of music. There is no genre I am not interested in, and lately it is a lot of sacred music, Bach to Bruckner to Bill Evans to Arvo Pärt. But I listen to and am quite knowledgeable about jazz, and there is still rock and roll. I love Paul Westerberg and would very much like to have a talk with him (we have mutual friends, but have never met). I love West African music. At this moment I am listening to Salif Keita.

* Recording of someone scanning NYC radio the night John Lennon died.

* "Fiction is experimentation. When it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction." -- John Cheever


Blogger jmika said...

Thank you for that Lennon radio scan. That's a poem, right there. Brought tears to my eyes.

6:14 PM  

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