Category Archives: translation

The Mother Courage of Rock

She was skinny, quick-witted, disarmingly unprofessional, alternating between stand-up patter, bardic intonations, and the hypnotic emotional sway of a chanteuse, and she was sexy in an androgynous way I hadn’t encountered before. The elements cohered convincingly; she seemed both entirely new and somehow long-anticipated. For me at nineteen, the show was an epiphany.

Luc Sante on Patti Smith.

Springtime 1976, I was living in the cinderblock building on the glorified median strip there where they split Highway 13, and one day I went over to this one girl’s apartment, she lived right by the guy who dealt me speed, and she said, “Hey, you know who you remind me of? You remind me of Patti Smith!”

Gave her a possum grin I’m still grinning.

Captain Beefheart’s Ten Commandments of Guitar Playing

4. Walk with the devil

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

(From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog. Via Brian Beatty.)

Films sans subtitles

My friend Charlie is now living in Buenos Aires in a house full of folks from all over the world, and among them is Lauren Stephenson, whom some of you may know. The other night Charlie and Lauren went to the movies. Their command of Spanish was not up to the task of following the film as its makers intended, and Charlie reflected on the experience of watching a talkie without a solid grasp on the words the characters spoke.

There were a lot of solitary and broody fishermen in boats and seaside bars. And one mouthy whore. There was a girl thrown into the mix, but her character stared vacantly into the distance so often that I wondered what she was looking at. Was she psychic? Did she make that guy have a heart attack just by squinting through the window? What was she looking for in the distance anyway? Did she like to find beavers in clouds? Again, not sure.

I am posting this post

because to now I have posted 1964 posts. So this will be 1965. And that was a beautiful year. I was just old enough to know that I wanted to be a grown-up woman. In 1965.

At least one of those grown-up women in the movies. Or to have a hit record.

Phonograms

Patrick Feaster studies the culture of early phonography (the recording and reproduction of sound) and blogs at Phonozoic, where I’ve been hanging out for the past hour or so. At the 2011 conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Feaster shared “Phonogram Images on Paper: 1250-1950.” You can listen to his presentation and download slides here. Just scroll down a little ways and you’ll find the links.

(via Excavated Shellac)