Monday, July 7, 2008

MUSIC & NOISE

There's a daily columnist in the San Francisco Chronicle that I enjoy, his name is Jon Carroll and here's a recent one that might appeal to this audience. He mentions Pandora.com, a music site that's not available yet outside the US but their website is well worth checking, a very interesting approach to providing music. I signed up today: the way it works is that you can create numerous 'radio stations', I created one that plays only Miles Davis and another that's based around Nina, Ella, Sarah and Billie and that's what I got for the next hour, uninterupted music of my choice. Another nice feature is that if it's left open it will resume as soon as you switch on your computer again and you can create as many 'stations' as you choose and alternate between them.
Jon's column is posted online every day and each one's different and well worth checking, he always closes with a musical/literary/theatrical quote, he's at: http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/carroll/

Here's Jon:

JON CARROLL

Friday, July 4, 2008

I am concerned with the little fishes, and my God was that an earthquake? Earthquake! The big one! Am I supposed to get under my desk, or is that nuclear attack? In a doorway? Under the cat? I must look that up before, oh right: power tools. Someone is using power tools in my house. Big ones.
I could go upstairs and see which power tools the workers are using, but then they might suspect I'm writing about them. You never want to upset guys with power tools.
So we're doing a remodeling thing. It's been 20 years since the last one, and apparently we're going to live in this house until we live in God's magic kingdom, so some changes had to be made. Or so the thinking went; not my thinking. My thinking is: All change is bad. Change is, of course, inevitable; growth and decay, growth and decay. The cycles we live by. Blah blah blah.
I'm not going to tell you what we're remodeling. I hate those conversations. It's like baby pictures. So your sister had a child and he's only 2 weeks old and he's cute, and oh look, here are 12 photos of him on your iPhone. And he looks like every other baby. I'm supposed to say something. "Cute baby," I say, hating myself.
I don't want to know if you're punching out the roof. I don't want to know that you're adding a glassed-in porch. Do I care if you're turning your den into a gym? I do not. Please don't tell me how much it will all cost. Don't tell me about delays, either. Am I being harsh? Perhaps so. My microclimate is subject to earthquakes, and I need some slack.
Thump! Thump! Thump! They're tossing corpses around up there. I hope it's for a good cause.
I have thought ahead. I went out and purchased Sony Noise Canceling Earphones, and by God they are working, mostly. They can't do much about the subsonic rumbles, though, the vibrations I feel in my knees. And, just now, strange crackling noises above my head. If a worker falls through the ceiling and lands on my keyboard, this column is going to be shorter than usual.
If a worker falls through the ceiling on me, I am going to be shorter than usual.
I have my earphones tuned to Pandora.com, a wonderful all-free Internet music source from the Music Genome Project. I can create a radio station that plays music I like, even if I've never heard the music before. Right now I'm on the Emmylou Harris-Dolly Parton-Lyle Lovett station, which is playing "I'm Looking at the World Through a Windshield" by Son Volt. No, now it's "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits.
I urge Pandora on you. You can mix and match any old way you want. The Archie Shepp-Barbra Streisand station? They can do that. Ozzie Osbourne and Holly Near? Give it a try. Hoyt Axton and, my sweet Jesus Alou! Apparently some noises can't be canceled. I think they've chosen the nuclear option up there. Want to see a picture of my dust?
"Fortunate Fool" by Jack Johnson, if you're playing along at home.
My obstinacy with regard to remodeling or, indeed, any change anywhere in the house is the despair of my wife. It's gotten so she starts proposals with, "OK, don't say no right away, think about it" or "I know you're going to say no, but ..." So I say "yes" once and I'm a hero, which is a kind of creepy conditioned behavior, but marriage is just creepy conditioned behavior with kissing, in my view.
"Days Like This" by Van Morrison. Bang whomp rumble from upstairs. This is day one of a process that will take, oh gosh, longer than any of us think. We have to dispose of that trunk of doubloons the workers are dragging across the floor just now, and the bites from the brown recluse spiders are going to play havoc with the schedule. "Fly Away" by Sugarland. Bomp.
Sudden thought: vermin! We're breaking through the walls, and Lord only knows what's been hanging out in there. It's a whole different world in there. We had a whole possum family living in the walls for a year, and we wouldn't have known if they hadn't started getting jiggy with the underside of the bathtub. There's a feeling: Taking a shower and feeling possum vibrations between your toes. "Travelin' Soldier" by the Dixie Chicks. Rrrrr-OOWrrrBANG.
Remind me to tell you about the fishes someday.
All is quiet here except for the strange continuous bangs and "Here in California" by Kate Wolf and, oh, I think maybe there's a raccoon in my shoe.


An old familiar rhyme, to everything there is a season; to every purpose there's a time, a time to love and come together, a time when love longs for a name, a time for questions we can't answer though we ask them just the same. Here in California fruit hangs heavy on the vines; there's no gold, I thought I'd warn ya, and the hills turn brown in jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.

7 comments:

DsD said...

Nice stream-of-consciousness ramble you've got going there, gf!

We've almost finished our, er, remodeling - just me and my paintbrush to do the girls' rooms - so I'll keep my satisfied smugness to myself.

As you have the noise-cancelling headphones now, I'll recommend you type Goldmund, Mark Hollis and Sigur Rós into Pandora and see what you get.

Goodnight mate.

Proudfoot said...

My mate's having a nervous breakdown because of the noise from the flat downstairs. It's not just the re-modelling but the music. Now we all love music but he just gets the bass coming through. It's mostly Springsteen and the bass lines to 'Born in the USA' are apparently wearing thin after a while.
He can't complain to the Dept of
Environmental Health or whatever because an official complaint will go down on his record when he tries to sell the flat, which he desperately wants to do. The bloke downstairs keeps coming up to tell him how he's working through the night and how the new fitted bookcase is coming along and how he'll be finished soon. I have advised him to play some Jaco Pastorius albums to show the man downstairs just how annoying a bass guitar can be. Let's hope it works. He's a grown man of 45 and he was sobbing on the phone this morning. This all sounds quite trivial but I feel for the guy. Can't we all live in tents or something? Property seems to me to be more stressful than divorce or chronic illness sometimes.

DsD said...

... and THAT'S why I'll never live in a property that isn't detached and begardened ever again.

treefrogdemon said...

We can get Pandora in the UK, gf - I used to listen to it at work till our evil IT guys pulled the plug on me.

Mnemonic said...

Last time I tried Pandora, they'd shut down the UK operation. Copyright problems, I think.

goneforeign said...

If you go to the Pandora site there's a piece about why it's currently not available outside the US, it does sound hopeful though, worth checking occasionally. I'm impressed with it, it's on all the time now and playing only classic jazz/blues/soul women.

treefrogdemon said...

Sweet - it says they're 'deeply, deeply sorry'. I've signed up to be informed if they sort it out. Thanks, mnemonic!