Sunday, February 27, 2011

George Perec's "The Art Of Asking Your Boss For A Raise"

Georges Perec is a writer who likes to play. He is also a writer that for one to enjoy has to be willing to go on the drive with him, and he is for sure the driver. Remarkable on many fronts, this book has super anxiety attached to it. The fear of asking money from your boss or head of your station at work is sweat stained existence for many. And Perec plays on those fears in a very playful way. "Everything needs to be simple" is a thought that runs through out this small book, but simple is often either complex or opens up other issues. Maybe way too many issues! 

Especially when one is planning "how" to approach the boss in asking for a raise. What will happen if he is not there at the time, or he's on the phone or..... The "or" is the part that can drive one mad, and Perec captures the irrationality that is basically in the workforce. But then therefore does that mean it only exists in the workforce?

Sweet Smell of Success

"Sweet Smell of Success" by Ernest Lehman

I don't have this book anymore and it is one that I miss while looking at my library. For the past three or four years I have been obsessed with the film and its history. There is a good critique out by James Naremore, but also recommended is the fantastic Criterion edition of "Sweet Smell of Success." The DVD comes with a small book that has two short stories by Ernest Lehman that are the first appearance of the main characters in Sweet Smell of Success, that is really fascinating. Get it!

Alexy Brodovitch's "Ballet"

When I think of the well-designed magazine lay-out, the name Alexy Brodovitch comes to mind. He was consistently a man who understood the importance of how a visual makes a statement on paper. And in the context of a book or magazine as well. But here he focuses as a photographer (and book designer as well) on the subject matter of various ballet companies that performed in New York during the 40's. Personalities don't stand out, but the movement and energy of the performance comes off the page like a punch to the head. Dynamic, beautiful, and visually witty.

The original edition is almost impossible to find. So what we have here is a book on the original edition of "Ballet." The original lay-out of its photographs, and its text by poet and dance critic Edwin Denby. Important and of course essential series

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Autumn's Done Come


Julian Casablancas - Old Hollywood (Whit Lyrics)

Music That I have Been Listening To Lately....

I am working on various projects at the same time and this here is my soundtrack.  Of course at the end of the year I try to make a top ten list, but I have some problems with that.   One, I very rarely listen to new music.  This should not be a comment about contemporary pop right now, but more to the fact that I just don't care about current music.  I think it is more me than them.  if that is a problem, but I don't think so....

Nevertheless here are some albums that have been changing my world (lately):

Julian Casablancas' "Phrazes for the Young."Yes, this is sort of a surprise for me as well!  For one, I don't think I ever heard a Strokes album in my life.  And the bits and pieces of their music I have heard in a record store (remember them?) didn't leave an impression.  But I heard this pop record  by him called "Old Hollywood" which is fantastic. Haunting, beautiful melody, and electronics that melts then more than anything.  Very passionate.  It took me a while to get pass that one song to the rest of the album - oh, and I don't think "Old Hollywood" is officially part of "Phrazes for the..."   It's on a bonus cd that comes with the album?   That is what's wrong with the Internet, the identity thing disappears.  Nevertheless I like his solo work.  

"Very Special World of Lee Hazelwood" by Lee Hazelwood.   The Arizona/Hollywood Serge Gainsbourg?  A lot of my friends are into him and his music, but I never fell for his charms - except for his duet work with Ms. Nancy Sinatra.  This may be his first solo recordings - I don't know its history, but I love the songs on it.  It's very late 1965 Los Angeles sound to me. Now I am a fan!  its very bright, very dry, and kind of moody all at once.  The song here that captured me is "My Autumns Gone."  A slow dreamy ballad that one can imagine Frank Sinatra recording it.  The beauty of Hazelwood is that he's always himself.  In many ways it is the ultimate middle-age pop.  Includes his version of "These Boots Are Made For Walking."

Manfred Mann's "Instrumental Assassination" French E.P.   One of my favorite British bands from the 1960's and here we have an odd release of just only their instrumentals.  I don't know its history  Jazzy, junky, throw-away recordings that sometimes shows what the band is really thinking about.  Very unusual, and for sure not really commercial, but the music on this e.p. will sound great in a club.  

Dave Berry - The Crying Game (1965)

Such beautiful moments...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tosh Talks Feb.07.2011

I chit-chat about Jack Parsons' two biographies as well as the fascinating biography on Cameron. A woman i knew...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reg Kray's "Born Fighter"

Whenever I go to London I try to buy as many books i can on the Kray Twins. Some like to buy little Big Ben statues, but no, I buy Kray books. And at one time, there were at least a 100 or so books on the Krays. 

Books by the vicitims, the people who worked with the Krays, and even the bartender who served drinks to one of the victims of the Krays just before he got shot in the head. She wrote a book as well. In fact I suspect off subjects due to true crime catagory, there are more books on the Kray Twins. Why? 

Well they're fascinating in many interesting ways. Both are identical twins, one was gay the other straight, and they basically ruled the London crime world during hte 60's. Also they were psychotic and extremely dangerous pair of men. I wouldn't want to cross their path and make them unhappy. 

The Krays also wrote a series of memoirs while they were in prison. Francis Bacon has mentioned that he received a landscape painting by one of the twins via the mail. He commented that it's interesting that it was a landscape painting, considering that they didn't have a view of such land in their cell. Although their cells did have carpeting, and maybe even a wet bar as well. The Krays lived in high fashion all the time. 

This is one of many of Reggie Kray's book. i am not sure about it's history, but it is still fascinating to see how these guys work and what they think about. There is a certain amount of glamour in their lives, but you have to keep in mind the sickening violence that went with it as well. 

One day I like to do a critical essay on the books that were produced in the Kray's world. I think it would be fascinating to compare and chose ... and just basically think how the mass media has covered the Kray twins.