Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good Music You Might Not Have Heard Before--Lots of mp3s

Over the past year, I have really gotten into some great music from a group of various artists in Chapel Hill NC called the Bu_hanan collective (they are also their own indie record label). This group of 5 or so guys and their friends make amazing, collaborative music together. I have included ELEVEN mp3s from 3 of these fantastic groups/ musicians that make up the collective: Kapow! Music (John Ribo and co.), The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (Perry Wright, Alex Lazara), and David Karsten Daniels. I am not going to say much about this as I want you to spend your time LISTENING. I would love to know what you think!


I will need to re-post these again later, as I made a mistake in how it was done the first time. For now, check out the tunes on the Kapow! music Myspace site.


2)"Concerning the End of the World" (my very favorite--lyrics are painful and profound)
3)"Concerning Lessons Learned from Aliens"
4)"Come Ye Sinners"
5) "Against Pollution" (Mountain Goats Cover)


1)"Siamese Hearts" (Another favorite)
2)"Jesus and the Devil"
3)"The Dream Before the Ring that Woke Me"

Finally, here are links to the above musicians individual sites, so you can download and/or buy more music--as well as see if they are playing near you. I know that both Prayers and Tears and David Karsten Daniels have new albums coming out relatively soon, so I am guessing they will be touring. Here are the sites:
The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (this site in particular has TONS of good FREE music to download--plus some fascinating commentaries)
David Karsten Daniels
Kapow! music

**I am ashamed that I forgot to mention that music guru Jeremy Huggins introduced me to the Prayers and Tears over a year ago on his blog. Jeremy's fantastic blog "Junkmail for Blankets" has to be my favorite blog out there, full of excellent writing and music, movie, lit recommendations. Be sure to take a look at it at some point. His recent article about Page France (which happens to mention the Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers) has profoundly effected me on many levels.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Self-Indulgence: Photos and Update

Bill Rice, Stephanie Oswald, Rob Gifford and Me.

So, people keep writing and asking me why I don't post photos of myself on my blog. I always feel weird about stuff like that--just like I feel weird about going on vacation and having people take snaps of me in front of historical sites (I NEVER do this). Anyway,I caved and have now provided few photos from last summer. These are with friends in the UK/ from L'abri etc.
I will go ahead and use this self- indulgent post to update you on my life: First of all, I am living with my dear friends, Ann and Larry, and their two little girls, Meg and Taylor. Ann and I have been friends for over 15 years now--she and Larry are such dear folks and have really welcomed me into their home. This worked out really well as I need a sort of "temporary" place as I apply for jobs for next academic year. And my finances are also being helped by this (student loan payment--arggghhh). Life in this house is quite exciting--two nights ago we had a BAT in the house. Ann and I (Larry was out of town) called the police to come and kill him! I love having eight year old Meg and two year old Taylor around. Taylor is a hilarious pop culture toddler--she loves to repeat things such as "dot com" and "diet coke" over and over--and over and over. Meg is awesome--she slips cute little notes under my door that say things like "Mary, will you please color with me tomorrow? I love you. Meg".
I am currently slaving away teaching five university general ed classes (Rhetoric and Composition and Western Humanities). It is good to be back in the States and teaching in a US university, but I am eager to begin teaching classes in my specialization area (modern and contemporary literature; religion and literature; all things pop culture related). I am currently applying for next year's jobs like crazy--from postdoc opportunities to Assistant Professorships in Contemporary Lit. I am praying that something cool will come through. I am pretty excited about travelling to South and North Carolina over this long weekend (Fall Break) to meet friends and check out universities. Other than that, things are pretty "normal". I have been far to busy grading papers and applying for jobs to have a social life. Maybe one day.

David Dusenbury and Me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sufjan covers The Innocence Mission

Oh, how lovely.

The Flying Cup Club

Beirut's new album The Flying Cup Club has just been released; you can see the band's scrappy, yet stylized homemade videos (one for each of the twelve tracks) here. My favorite song this far is "Nantes", which you can listen to here. "Elephant Gun", which is also on that site, is a fantastic older one.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Book/ My Encounter With Douglas Coupland

So, Coupland's new book, The Gum Thief,came out in the States just yesterday. You can read a synopsis of it here. The last time I was able to spek with Coupland (after a book reading in London) he told me that this book was about the interior world of Staples employees. I can't wait.

Speaking of speaking with Coupland, I dug out an old e-mail I sent to friends after my most memorable encounter with Coupland. Here it is:
I have finally met the key subject of my PhD dissertation, Douglas Coupland!! He wrote and starred in a play that was performed at the RSC in Stratford upon Avon. One of my French friends, Stephanie, and I explored Stratford and then went to Coupland's play _September 10, 2001_. My story(not Coupland's play!) is quite a long and sordid tale that involves getting kicked out of a pub called The Dirty Duck--I'll try to make it short.After speaking with about 5 folks associated with Coupland, I met the play's director who went to ask Dougie if he could meet me. This very nice director guy came back with a large note (written in bright red ink) from Coupland that said I could meet him at the cast party later which would take place at the Dirty Duck pub across the road. So, my friend and I wandered around a very dead Stratford, hopping from tudor pub to tudor pub, until our meeting time, when we went back to the Dirty Duck. I saw a large table with a reserved sign on it and, assuming it was for the cast party, I sat there. The next thing I know, a stumpy, red faced little publican came aggressively towards me, aslking me what I was doing there. The table was apparently reserved for the cast of King Lear; I tried to get up and move and explain this confusion, but this was immediately misinterpreted as a demand to sit there. So, my poor little FRench friend, once again embarrassed by her loud mouthed American friend, tried to quietly leave. I, on the other hand, demanded to know why we were kicked out!! By now, the entire population of a very crowded pub was looking at Stephanie and me, and we were asked again to leave and to "Never Come BAck!"So we went back to the theatre and waited until we saw Coupland coming down the steps and heading for the pub. I introduced myself and, rather than complimenting his play or speaking about my PhD work with him, I proceeded to tell him the saga of the Dirty Duck pub. Thankfully, he was just as shocked as we were and asked us to come back to the pub with him. We ended up having a nice time hanging out with Coupland and his entourage (of course were just sophisticated, friendly intellectual on-lookers, not groupies!! hmm hmm). It was a great, if traumatic evening, and the big man ended up giving me his e-mail address so I could write and ask questions about his writing.
The end.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

All things Scottish

I had grown quite tired of Belle and Sebastian, but my love and appreciation for them was resurrected this morning as I drove to school and listened closely to the lyrics of "We Rule The School" from Tigermilk. The best bits:
"Do something pretty while you can
Don't fall asleep
Skating a pirouette on ice is cool

Do something pretty while you can
Don't be a fool
Reading the Gospel to yourself is fine"

I also realized how much listening to these guys makes me long for Glasgow, my favorite city in the UK--a place both earthy and electric. My favorite aspect of Glasgow is the imprint that architect/designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh left on the place. Here he is:

Every time I visted that city (and I have been many times), I endeavored to see a different Mackintosh building. The highlights of all these sitings are definitely the library in the Glasgow School of Art and Design (Macintosh designed both the interior and exterior of the building--and they also have a lot of his furniture and paintings on display).
The library:

The front of the Art School (take a tour if at all possible):

My second favorite place is the music hall in the "House For an Art Lover":

**I hope to find a better photo of this later--I think I might have one somewhere.