In the words of Suzanne Somers, “I wore my green sweater today, and smiled.”
The chill is on, here in western Mass. I’ve been living in New England now for 10 years, and today I went apple picking for the first time since I’ve been up here. When I was a kid growing up in Duchess County, NY, we used to live across from acres and acres of apple orchards. We’d pick as many apples as we wanted, practically in the back yard, so the thought of making a quaint family outing of wandering around an orchard always seemed kind of weird. Next to the orchards we’d go and play in these sand and gravel holes– we called the whole place The Pits. My brother would set traps for raccoons and ground hogs, and he’d go out in the ice and snow and mud to club the poor fuckers who were left alive in the traps. Then he’d clean the pelts and get a few bucks from somebody. We were all headed for such a life of great northern redneck realities. I remember – you’ll like this – getting a BB gun for Easter one year (pretty awesome, weapons for Easter), and my brother took me out to The Pits in the snow, we set up some spent cans of spray paint at a distance and started shooting at them. I remember one of the cans, punctured by my little shiny bb, spinning, and flipping and hissing as it painted the snow red.
Lately I’ve been thinking of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos For the New Millenium. In it Calvino champions sets of opposed polar qualities – I remember he writes about the virtues of quickness and the beauty of lightness. Embedded in his argument is the equal praise for the opposite quality; quickness gains its charm in part because of the balanced appeal of slowness, likewise fizzy weightlessness and gravity. I thought of Calvino again when listening to some free MP3s I got from Light in the Attic Records. They’ve got some high life and afrobeat samplers coming out and they’re giving away a few typically long songs. The three-minute pop song has so many devout believers, but the epic jam seems like a more suspect and often-maligned endeavor. This tune by Rex Lawson isn’t quite a marathon, but boy do the slide-rule effect of piled-on coiled guitars, disorientingly relentless syncopation, and stately horns upset the temporal flow.
“Oko” – Rex Lawson and his Rivers Men