May 10, 2011

this emery board is giving me a rash

Jenny Holzer, Selection From the Survival Series, 1991

* From a 2002 article on Will Oldham:

"With Oldham, it seems, all that matters are the songs. Which is why it often seems that he is the only person who is doing something new, something now, with the idea of the song - including sometimes stretching it to breaking point. A Will Oldham song - any Will Oldham song you care to choose - will sound both familiar and utterly alien. It will sound both old and new, fully formed and a little bit broken, complete and somehow unfinished. It will intrigue you and maybe even baffle you and it may well annoy you. The titles alone give some indication of his singular approach. Here is a random selection: 'You Will Miss Me When I Burn', 'Be Still And Know God (And Don't Be Shy)', 'I Tried To Stay Healthy For You', 'Rich Wife Full Of Happiness' and, last but not least, 'You Have Cum On Your Hair (And Your Dick Is Hanging Out)' - which, as the title suggests, is a love song for our times.

"Perhaps because of his elusiveness, Oldham has become a cult artist constantly on the cusp of crossover. Next week, without fanfare, he has sold out the Barbican as part of their Further Beyond Nashville festival. Last year, he was acknowledged by the ailing Johnny Cash, who recorded one of Oldham's best and darkest songs, 'I See A Darkness'. Oldham's fans include Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, who has recorded with him, and Harmony Korine, the maverick filmmaker who gave him a cameo in his last film, Julien Donkey-Boy.

"For all that, he remains the most mysterious figure in contemporary American music, someone whose increasingly rare interviews often reveal nothing so much as their interrogators' fumbled attempts to get a handle on him. Oldham hates interviews. 'What are they for?' he asks me. 'They have nothing to do with the music. It's usually people asking a bunch of weird questions like, "Why are the songs so slow?" Well, maybe because they are. Because that's how we play them. Because I wrote them at a less rapid pace. It's always why, why why? Why everything? And the answer to 'why' is because it just is. Things just are.'"

* The New York Times takes a look at Normal Mailer's unique Brooklyn apartment.

* "A page of good prose remains invincible." -- John Cheever


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