Okay, so apparently that Against Nature comparison is like, so obvious it’s embarrassing that I even mentioned it. #dorkproblems
Archive for October, 2015
You know when nothing in your life is going right, and so you feel justified in lying around and feeling sorry for yourself, maybe eating ice cream and drinking beer before noon? (I once saw a guy in Vienna order that for breakfast, and I was in complete awe of him.) Well, sometimes I think that might be better than when things in your life are going decently––like, it’s 60% cool––so you have no real reason to complain, but also nothing spectacular or even mildly weird is going on, so you’re a little… bored, maybe? And you know it’s good––better to be bored than putting out fires left and right––but you can’t help but want to shake things up a little? Maybe by accepting an invite to smoke opium and head on over to a world music fest at the apartment of dark, deranged Dorian Gray.
“At another time he devoted himself entirely to music, and in a long latticed room, with a vermilion-and-gold ceiling and walls of olive-green lacquer, he used to give curious concerts, in which mad gypsies tore wild music from little zithers, or grave yellow-shawled Tunisians plucked at the strained strings of monstrous lutes, while grinning negroes beat monotonously upon copper drums, and, crouching upon upon scarlet mats, slim turbaned Indians blew through long pipes of reed or brass, and charmed, or feigned to charm, great hooded snakes and horrible horned adders. The harsh intervals and shrill discords of barbaric music stirred him at times when Schubert’s grace, and Chopin’s beautiful sorrows, and the mighty harmonies of Beethoven himself, fell unheeded on his ear. He collected together from all parts of the world the strangest instruments that could be found, either in the tombs of dead nations or among the few savage tribes that have survived contact with Western civilizations, and loved to touch and try them. He had the mysterious juruparis of the Rio Negro Indians, that women are not allowed to look at, and that even youths may not see till they have been subjected to fasting and scourging, and the earthen jars of the Peruvians that have the shrill cries of birds, and flutes of human bones such as Alfonso de Ovalle heard in Chili, and the sonorous green jaspers that are found near Cuzco and give forth a note of singular sweetness. He had painted gourds filled with pebbles that rattled when they were shaken; the long clarin of the Mexicans, into which the performer does not blow but through which he inhales the air; the harsh ture of the Amazon tribes, that is sounded by the sentinels who sit all day long in high trees, and can be heard, it is said, at a distance of three leagues; the teponaztli, that has two vibrating tongues of wood, and is beaten with sticks that are smeared with an elastic gum obtained from the milky juice of plants; the yotl-bells of the Aztecs, that are hung in clusters like grapes; and a huge cylindrical drum, covered with the skins of great serpents, like the one that Bernal Diaz saw when he went with Cortes into the Mexican temple, and of whose doleful sound he has left us so vivid a description. The fantastic character of these instruments fascinating him, and he felt a curious delight in the thought that Art, like Nature, has her monsters, things of bestial shape and with hideous voices. Yet, after some time, he wearied of them, and would sit in his box at the Opera, either alone or with Lord Henry, listening to rapt pleasure to Tannhauser, and seeing in the prelude to that great work of art a presentation of the tragedy of his own soul.”
This reminds me of the scene in I Heart Huckabees when that Spanish woman is singing a song about the drought that ravaged her community. Or about the time seven years ago when I wanted to ask a friend of a friend if her boyfriend, who was a Hare Krishna, could hold a be-in at our apartment. Now that friend of a friend is dead of a heroin overdose. Ain’t life absurd?
Postscript: Is it just me, or was Oscar Wilde crushing up pages of A Rebours and snorting them while writing The Picture of Dorian Gray?
Guys, remember when I had my psychic dream? THIS is what we were wearing.
No can do. I am
doctor not of medicine,
I am the future,
The first person. What
do you take me for?
If is a real condition.
If I’m a pill, then
you are double blind.
What you don’t know can’t hurt you.
Spoonful of sugar,
it’s all in your head,
this dendritic alchemy
of pain. Nothing works.
~A. E. Stallings
I really should have a category called Whimsical Haberdashery, but I think I might be done adding categories. I mean, at a certain point, expansion becomes procrastination, no? Speaking of procrastination, I wanted to work today, but I went to a family wedding last night so I was tired and lazy and ended up watching a lot of (really good) movies and eating an entire medium pizza by myself. A day that sounds funny in the context of a Girls episode––millennials, they’re so stupid and yet witty!––but is actually just kind of sad in real life. But you know what isn’t sad? This drawing of a meringue hat, which I told my husband I wanted the other day. It was done by Will Cotton, my new art crush. Will, can you make me one of these IRL? Great, thankssomuch.
Dear Alberto Manguel,
While reading the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, I came across the following quote from your latest book:
“It was [the beekeeping priest] who told me that when a beekeeper dies, someone must go and tell the bees that their keeper is dead. Since then I’ve wished that when I die someone will do the same for me, and tell my books that I will not come back.”
As an obsessive bibliophile myself, I understand this desire, and I’m happy to do this for you. I suppose it’s best if I introduce myself to the books first, so that I’m a recognizable face when I deliver news in the future. To that end, I suggest I come and visit your library (and you) in France some time in the coming months. Please let me know when would work for you. I have a feeling you don’t have an enormous online life, so I’ll search for a physical address for you. When I come, we can drink tea and talk about our personal experiences reading to the blind.
My friend KM, who has helped me reach so many literary milestones, recently told me about a house in the posh neighborhood in London where her aunt lives. Apparently the woman who owns it was upset that the neighborhood council didn’t approve her plans to install a swimming pool (noise and all) so to get back at them, she painted the facade of her home in red and white stripes. Honestly, I think it looks pretty cool, and think the neighbors should continue to oppose her swimming pool plan so that their lane remains the cutest in the borough.
ND: I learned a valuable lesson today
And that is don’t put a peanut in your mouth just before you are about to sneeze.
Believe it or not, this has actually worked for me once before. If you happen to fit any of the following descriptions, please get in touch with me (via Siobhan) so I can pepper you with invasive questions about your experiences and use you as a subject in an article! Every person’s dream!
1. You’re a convert to Catholicism considering becoming a nun. You live, in order of preference, in: England, Scotland, Ireland, the United States, or Australia (only if I’m desperate will I consider Pacifica.) Ideally you’re between the ages of eighteen and thirty, and college educated, but the latter is not at all important. Like, I’d rather you live in England than be a uni graduate.
2. You run a small art gallery out of your living room. You live in Paris or London (no preference between the two.)
3. You work for immigration dealing specifically with partner or fiance(e) visas in the United Kingdom. Second preference: same, but in Canada, or in the United States. Also feel free to get in touch if: you’re a lawyer who deals with said visas, or you’ve applied for said visas before.
4. You once tried to become Amish.
5. You’re an expert on the biology of attraction.
6. You are a historian of the circus arts, a teacher of circus arts, or someone who tightrope walks to decompress at the end of the day. Preferably, you live in the greater London area.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN.
Okay, I have something to say (well, to write) but I had to share this genius idea with you first. Here’s my friend Gedalya, “the Hasidic dog walker,” in a little video at the Forward.
See how his shirt says “ball so hard?” Well, I decided to go all hipsid on this thing:
I’m sending Siobhan to the sewing room (we have one in ID headquarters) right now! Place your orders immediately!