Sunday, September 12, 2010

dreamers, readers, gators, and the Sprit of Radio

Gator attack!

Various, The American Mercury Reader 
Gram Parsons,  Grievous Angel
Arthur Russell, First Though Best Thought
Sufjan Stevens, All Delighted People 
Ed to Add: Rush, Permanent Waves

It is likely a blasphemy to say this, but I love Gram Parsons and his songs while only just liking the way he did them. The reason might lay in my introduction to them through a rather amazing compilation with Lucinda Williams and Crissie Hynde and the Mavericks implanting the "real" versions of his songs in my mind. Evan Dando with Juliana Hatfield doing "$1000 Wedding" seems to coy and obvious an idea to work, but he gets to the magma core of the song.

Anyway, I woke up Saturday with "I saw my devil/I saw my deep blue sea" in my head from a dream and its stayed there until the afternoon when I finally acknowledged and dealt with the presence of both. Lucinda sounds so drunk when she sings it on that compilation, but the mish-mash of a dream calls for the real thing when tackling its residuals.

I am still into the whole American Mercury thing and think I may have A Big Idea with which to inflate it. I'm lazily devouring the Reader like a gator does a grad student and just got into "We Rob a Bank" by actual bank robber Ernest Booth.  I love the little author bios included with each story:
ERNEST BOOTH, who has since been released, was serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison, Represa, Calif. , for the robbery he describes so graphically and with such profound psychological insight in this article. he was twenty-eight years old at the time, and had already been a professional robber and burglar for twelve years. His article was but one of many by prisoners, which appeared in this magazine. (September, 1927) 
On the one one that brung me here, they say:
JOHN FANTE, one of the most promising younger writers, first achieves a nation-wide audience in this magazine. His books include Dago Red and Ask the Dust. (August, 1932)

They have similarly pithy, self-congratulatory statements about William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This bit from their "AMERICANA" humor column - items snipped from dailies across the Republic - amused:


MORAL dictum of the Rev. H. J. Mc-
Cool, pastor of the Istrouma Baptist
Church, in the up-and-coming town of
Baton Rouge:
I am not against bathing. I believe that
we should at least take a bath once a
month. But. . . I am coming to believe
that mixed bathing is one of our future
problems. . . I doubt seriously if we can
retain virtuous thoughts when the whole
community is in bathing together. (October, 1925)
Check out old Istrouma now. Anyway, it's totally my kind of magazine and I'm into it. Happy weekend, dear readers. Watch the weeds for monsters while you might be otherwise occupied. I'm adding Rush in honor of  my friends' band almost playing "The Spirit of Radio" during a Television tribute night that I had to miss due to the lingering tendrils of the flu and the lull of NyQuil. Perhaps shattering the illusion of integrity would have fixed us all.

If you haven't read Skylaire Alfvegren's Grokking Rush" in the July/August issue of The Believer, you should. A tatse.

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