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The very idea of the (definitive) translation is misguided, Borges tells us; there are only drafts, approximations.

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Sunday, August 31st, 2008

🦋 In the dead of night

The story of Spain's gold reserves being transported to Moscow in 1937 seems like it would make really excellent raw material for a thriller. I wonder if such a thing has been written or filmed.

posted evening of August 31st, 2008: 2 responses
➳ More posts about The Passionate War

🦋 Pamuk on the radio

I found a radio interview with Orhan Pamuk -- the January 22nd episode of Robert Harrison's show "Entitled Opinions" on KZSU. The blogger at Coisas do Gomes alerted me to this interview when he posted this quote:

There were unfortunate institutional attempts in Turkey to purify Turkish in mid-thirties and forties but I don't believe in it. My standard for using the language is the language I hear from my grandmother, from my mother, from my father. I am a conservative, in the sense that I want to keep Turkish as it is. In my novels I use the language of my mother, of my grandmother, which is actually the language I also hear on the streets.

This is nice; and I also like, later in the interview:
When I published my Istanbul book, some four years ago in Turkey, my readers from the younger generation object to the fact that this is not the colorful, happy, sunny Istanbul -- and I agreed with them. I wrote my Istanbul, and that's the Istanbul I like. The Istanbul of long winter nights; black and white, a poor black and white place, where the ruins of Ottoman empire, the ruins of all extravagant, wooden Ottoman buildings, they're in ruins -- that's how I spent my childhood, playing football among the Ottoman ruins, among the wooden houses, which were in the next two decades burned down one by one. My Istanbul, in the fifties, sixties, seventies, was an extraordinarily provincial place, where the sense of community was out, the sense of being outside of Europe, but so close to Europe, and still being poor; the sense of "nothing will change here, there is no future here," was still hovering around; perhaps a place where the presence of the loss of Ottoman empire, that this city had once upon a time, was once the capital of a great, magnamious (?) and very rich empire, now is in ruins and leading a poor, provincial life, hoping to develop a relationship with Europe...

I believe I have read similar sentiments to this in a published article of Pamuk's -- it sheds new light on them, to hear them straight from the horse's mouth.

posted evening of August 31st, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Orhan Pamuk

🦋 Cover versions

Over at Before You Listen, NickS is asking, "What makes a good cover?" Well -- I've been thinking about it some and the more I reflect, the more it seems like I'm a really easy target for cover versions in general. This came to me today when I was listening to WFUV's Sunday Breakfast, and Alison Kraus came on the radio singing Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" -- this is just fantastic! and what is it about cover versions that gets me so reliably interested?

I think it's pretty simple really: When I listen to a cover of a song I like, I've got the version I know playing in my head and the version I'm listening to playing harmony. Lots of opportunities for interplay between the variations, a psychic duet between the two singers. Fun! Even better, when I get to know multiple versions and have them all playing together. (Take a look at this list of covers of "Summertime Blues" -- some great stuff in there. I guess The Who's version and Eddie Cochran's are the two most familiar to me; Blue Cheer's, which I heard for the first time yesterday, is totally worth while. Plus T. Rex! Richie Valens! Bruce! James Taylor! and many more. A couple of versions below the fold.)

(Note: Doing a clumsy post like this makes me grateful for the existence of bloggers like NickS who can write meaningful, articulate takes on what is happening in the music they're listening to.)

posted morning of August 31st, 2008: 3 responses
➳ More posts about Cover Versions

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

🦋 I guess I will miss this one

So everyone is very excited about Bolaño's 2666, which will be available in English translation soon. I wish I could be! I just found out about this author's existence pretty recently, from Orbis Quintus IIRC; and I have had too much else on my reading plate to think about getting acquainted with him. Looks like I am going to miss out on a pretty major literary event; but I sort of don't want my first acquaintance with Bolaño to be this book. I reckon sometime down the road a little, I will start reading his short stories and work my way up to 2666 -- the cutting edge continues to elude me.

MetaFilter offers up some resources for readers interested in getting acquainted with Bolaño. (via Conversational Reading.)

posted evening of August 30th, 2008: 2 responses
➳ More posts about Roberto Bolaño

🦋 Pounding Heart

As I was leaving the theater tonight -- my eyes wide open, my heart still racing -- I heard someone muttering to his date, "A lotta holes..."

And yeah -- the plot was not perfectly formed. There was some implausible stuff if you stop to think about it, some threads that if you spun them out would lead to contradictions or impossibilities. But I had to wonder, when in the movie had this guy gotten the chance to think about the plot holes?

Tell No One is a thriller, I thought it was a very well-realized example of the genre. I could not move a muscle for much of the movie, I was gazing rapt at the screen and my head was full of fear and excitement. That seems to me like a well-spent 2 hours. (Well an hour and a half; the first thirty minutes was more confusing than gripping.)

posted evening of August 30th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about The Movies

Friday, August 29th, 2008

🦋 Man will never be saved, until he realizes he is the most despicable thing ever created

We are watching an early Almodóvar movie tonight, Dark Habits (1983). He had not quite worked out his story-telling ability yet -- the story of this movie is too tangled, too busy -- but God: this guy is a visual genius.

The photography of the nuns is beautiful but what really gets me is Yolanda's face, both when she's made up for performances and when she's plain.

...Yolanda's concert, with the nuns backing her up: totally worth while. And oh my God! The Mother Superior took an icon of Yolanda's face from her towel!

posted evening of August 29th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Pedro Almodóvar

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

🦋 Forgive them LORD for they know not what they... ribbet?

Trouble in Rome for artistic freedom; but mainly just hilarious.

Martin Kippen­berger's sculpture "First the Feet" has been singled out for criticism by the Vatican. What a lovely image! Pure luck that on the way home after I saw this article this afternoon, "Globe of Frogs" came on the stereo.

(There's got to be some clever way to tie this in to the wave of extinctions of frog species, but I am not up to it, I fear. Also: The Frog Prince → The Frog Messiah.)

posted afternoon of August 28th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

🦋 Hmm... a song?

Via the magic of Google, I just found out that a band I never heard of, Elysian Fields, has a song (without lyrics) called "Dog of Tears." I guess there's no way it could be anything other than a reference to Blindness. Busy, busy, busy! I will listen to it later on.

posted morning of August 28th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Music

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

🦋 Lands Far Away...

Hugo has a brand new blog. Good place to look for informed commentary on eastern European politics and history.

posted afternoon of August 27th, 2008: Respond

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

🦋 Fegmania!

Two things I like very much from the re-issue of Fegmania!: the final track "Lady Obvious," which appears never to have been released before (and which I spent a few minutes wishing could be called "Lady Octopus"); and the live version of "Heaven." I transcribed the lyrics to the former, and the intro to latter. If anybody knows the provenance of this recording of "Heaven," please let me know. (According to Miles Goosens, it is likely from the 1992 Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians tour.)

posted evening of August 26th, 2008: Respond
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