I Am Oak - "Don't I Know Enough"
In the most unhopeless way, there is nothing you can do. Here I am, old, and saddled with regret and pain, and you are asking me for advice. I must look similar to how I feel, and you want to hear what I would do differently if I were young like you. You want to hear the warnings of the old so you can see the future, sidestep the cracks and perils and walk the edges of disaster so you can be just like you are now when you are my age. Well like I say, and do not think I am being discouraging, there is nothing you can do. Sure, eat better, less, breathe deeper, walk longer and learn to dance, but I will not tell you to let go of pain, to live the life you want and not the life others expect of you, I will not tell you this. Because you are young, your project is not finished, whereas mine is done and its holes are showing. There is nothing you can do, you will either end up like me or more likely end up like you.
[Reissued by Snowstar]
12:14 PM on May 17, 2013
Steve Mason - "Come to Me". At 11:07pm, it is pouring on rue Raspail. The pavement looks black and the few tall trees shake down a heavy, cold spray. A man runs down the sidewalk in silver sneakers. A woman hustles with her head down, clutching a gold bag. There is a thin wind. At the top of the boulevard, a battering ram begins to move. The ram is made of teak, oak and steel, reinforced with ten thousand bolts. Whoever built this spent years building it, assembling and honing, to finally arrive at this horizontal beam, a ram of unimaginable strength, which is making its way down rue Raspail. Flecks of rain slip across the wood and metal. Shadows crisscross its head. Nobody is holding the battering ram: it is in the open bed of a truck. The truck advances one block at a time. When there is a red light, it stops. A man in silver sneakers glances at the ram and runs on. A woman turns a corner. If battering rams could speak, this one would say, "Soon." [buy]
11:15 AM on May 16, 2013
Rokia Traoré - "N'Téri". I'm visiting Paris for a couple of weeks. I have visited here before. When I was 12, when I was 22, when I was 25, when I was 28. Four visits. It is easy to be cocky. Sure, the 14ième. Oh yeah, L'As du Falafel. Why je t'en prie. I pretend I am not a tourist. I am a saucy know-it-all. I am a boss. I drink pastis and Sancerre, hop on vélib. I am tempted, for one precarious moment, to spit upon the street. But no I do not. As the second sunset settles I am reminded: Be humble. Soyez humble. You are a stranger here, a mouse, a drab visitor from faraway. You are borrowing this horizon. You are stealing this clouded sunlight. These cream pastries, these lemongrass chocolates, these cheeses and breads and wines and olives, these cobblestones - they are all gifts. We come to this place and the unsaying city says, Here. It says it without saying it. Some generosities are so matter-of-fact that you can mistake them for weather, for masonry. We travel and we are welcome: this is a privilege, do not forget; this is a windfall. Merci.
These feelings - I have been feeling them but they are also tossed up into the air, blown like dandelion seeds, by Rokia Traoré's "N'Téri". Traoré is a Malian artist, singing in Bambara, and this is from her new album. It is a gorgeous treasure of a song - seven minutes of slow waking, then the day's wakeful living. OK and then maybe the night too: the scatter of dancesteps on a clean floor, until they abruptly halt.
I walked under flowering chestnut trees; I listened to "N'Téri". In both, it was easy to be seduced. To be a boss, a saucy know-it-all. To be forgetfully comfortable in Traoré's serenade, in her song's perfect rings. But no, listen: We are guests. This is faraway music, and a gift. So generous, so generous, the playing is so generous: slow bass, a kind voice, metronome guitar, then the waking glitter of electric guitar. I feel like I have been welcomed into a garden, or a magic desert, with lines of shade and white light, rainfall and sun, restful hours. A bird crosses the sky without flapping its wings. I think, Bonjour. (The bird, too, is a gift.)
N'Téri is a word that means friend. My friend. This is a gift Traoré has given us. I hope one day to deserve the name.
(photo is of members of Delhi's Pullan family, all of whom have albinism - source)
Peals - "Tiptoes in the Parlor"
Careful not to scratch the glass. Careful of the ice, it's thin like rice paper, and the edges can be sharp. Careful of people who always look perfect, careful of the wind. Careful not to promise anything to anyone, that will never land the way you think. Careful, watch, there's a candle on.
Jim Guthrie - "Taking My Time". Stray dime rolls in on its edge, stops at the end of your shoe. Take it thin between thumb and forefinger. You hold it up to the light. The thought registers: I approve of this dime. Before you have time to pocket it you see the jewelled flash of an illuminated sign. It is as if God is sending you a gaudy message. SLOT MACHINES, the sign reads. DIMES DIMES DIMES. This is a dumb coincidence, it hardly makes you smile, but the phrase "dimes dimes dimes" makes you smile, makes you repeat the words under your breath, and soon you find yourself pushing the heavy brass door and into the house of slot machines. The gambling devices clonk, whirr and bling, flexing their lights, promising loot. You hold up your dime. Just what the doctor ordered. Just what the machine requires. Down into a slot, zip cachunk, then you smack the turquoise button and watch the treasure wheels spin. Bar, Cherry... banana. That is your fate. Bar, Cherry, Banana - a sequence that is worthless, vacant, wasted. The machine swallows your coin and adjusts its flash - gives the shine and glitter a different intonation, goading or disappointed. So much for your lucky coin of serendipity. So, stupidly (stupidly! you tell yourself) you take out your wallet and dig out another dime dime dime. This is a second dime. This dime is yours. You slip it in the damn dumb machine. You push the turquoise button. You sort of hold your breath. Zip cachunk, wheel & wheel & wheel, and you think to yourself: If I am really lucky I will win a bit of patience. [buy]
Thee Oh Sees - "Maze Fancier"
There are many stories from Tennis Ct, and I wish they could all be told today.
This is not, however, the story of the one-eyed dog that everyone called Ray Charles because of the way he wagged his head around.
Nor is it the story of the Philippine nanny who mysteriously took care of a different kid every week, never repeating one ever in her career.
And this is not the story of the actress who lived in 18, the big apartment with the bus shelter out front, which had a huge advertisement with her face on it that made her think thieves and rapists would now know where she lived.
This is the story of Kahn, the tall slender boy whose skin looked like a painting done with a loose wrist. Everything about Kahn looked effortless. He seemed to coast along Tennis Ct as if carried by a cloud. And he lived on that street all his life, and every day of that time, someone was in love with Kahn.
It was either Jennifer the kleptomaniac who had a penchant for pinching undies, or Therèse the bank teller who chewed more gum than anyone in history. For a while it was Benjamin, who would glance at Kahn while pretending to wash his Miata, or little Frederick who never felt anything deeper for anyone else, not even his parents or his toys so it must be love what else could it be. And eventually everyone had their turn to pine: Rita who flossed so much she had to have surgery, Nico Guzman who hated being left-handed, both Michael and Michelle who were fraternal twins and mortal enemies, everyone.
But Kahn loved none of them. Kahn was not of this world, he seemed to be in love with the great beyond, the hereafter, the next life. Perhaps that's what made him so desirable, and not his easy simple floating way, but that he seemed to know the future, and still he smiled.
[Buy from Castle Face]
Beck - "Loser"
No, I work here, you can ask anyone. I've worked here for years. Years. I've come in every day, and I've put in my blood sweat and tears, haha. Years. How long have you been here? Maybe you don't work here. I work here, dude, ask anyone. Well, when they come in in the morning you can ask them then. Don't touch me. I work here, don't I look like I work here? These just happen to be the hours that I work! That's why I have a coffee, hellooo! I've been here every day, dude, serious. No, I mean, I've been here, I don't always go inside. I don't always need to, I can work out here. Yes, I've been coming out here every day and working, so I think I'm a fucking employee, yes. See the bag? See the computer? See the printer cable? Employee. Ask anyone.
If you listen to this song nice and loud, you will hear my new favourite part of a thousand favourite parts: at 3:48, just as the song is already fading out, that previously unheard huge guitar that comes in? That's it for me today.
(image from consumeconsume)
about said the gramophone
this is a daily sampler of really good songs
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said the gramophone
launched in march 2003, and added songs in november of that year. it was one of the world's very first mp3blogs.
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"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
lives in Montreal, where he is writing a novel. His work also occasionally appears at McSweeney's
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is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
Juan and Only
Passion of the Weiss
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
A London Salmagundi
Gorilla vs Bear
From Y to A
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In FocusAMASS BLOG
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet
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blue skies turn black
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