Inhuman Swill : Music : Page 17

Sweeping the clouds away

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By the way, for all you closet Sesame Street fans out there, I thought I'd point out that we have at long last made your favorite old songs from the show available on our Web site. Just try Sesame Street Radio if you really want to annoy everyone near your cubicle.

Alternately, you can call my office and I will put you on hold. Then you'll hear the same thing.

(For the record, we launched a cosmetically altered version of the site last week. It's very cool—if you have Flash, a powerful machine, and a fast connection. Try it.)

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I'm not sure why I'm thinking about this today. Maybe because she was the first friend I ever took with me to Sesame Street. (You've heard about the latest trip if you read Eleanor's journal, though I may eventually have more to say about it myself.)

I met her two years ago, more or less. "Oh, come on," said Rob, dragging me to another bar in the Village at one in the morning. "Just one more drink." Rob would soon be moving to Seattle, so I agreed.

If it weren't for Rob, I never would have started talking to the two German women sitting near our table. With the notable exception of Laura, who I would meet two months later, I don't pick up women in bars. But somehow she and I started talking, and before you know it she was invited to Rob's going-away party, and her suspicious, ill-tempered friend was dragging her out of the bar, and she was throwing a "Help me" look back at me over her shoulder.

Miracle of miracles, she showed up at the going-away party a couple of days later. Rob was handing a journal around the table, asking his friends to write something in it. My new German friend spent a long time over her entry. Rob showed me later what she had written. It was all very dark and poetic, and one line of it stuck in my head: "I'm a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl." This disturbed me quite a bit, but it also attracted me—the way some people are attracted to knives, I'm sure.

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Goth girl

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I had John Wesley Harding on the stereo as I got ready before work (the artist, not the album), and the following lyrics made my morning:

Goth girl, who is the guy on the leash?
Does he wash dishes?
Goth girl, he looks like Pete Murphy to me,
Oh yeah, he wishes.

I know he's appropriately frail,
But I bet he can't afford
To take you to the Nine Inch Nails.
(I've got two tickets.)

Had to share.

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By his bootlegs

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The entire purpose of this entry is to announce that I'm currently listening to a friend's bootleg of a recent Beck show at Radio City Music Hall. On CD. With headphones.

It doesn't get much better than this.

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Kid A

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So I bought the new Radiohead album at Tower Records for $13.99 on the way to work this morning. I've listened to it several times now, and I still haven't figured out how I feel about it.

It certainly hasn't grabbed me and shook me up and set me down again to collect all the contents of my pockets like OK Computer did three years ago. This album is very different. I want to say it's not as good. I want to say it's so different that such a comparison doesn't matter.

Whatever I end up saying, I'm going to try to make up my own mind and not let the reviews I will inevitably read put words into my mouth. That happens sometimes, and I'm not proud of it.

(You know, it just occurred to me that Kid A reminds me in some ways of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized. OK Computer reminded me of nothing so much as Dark Side of the Moon. At least every Radiohead album is reminscent for me of some astronomical touchstone. That kind of consistency is worth something.)

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William Shunn