tumbled sky

Hello, readers.

It is Wednesday. The Margate sky is some kind of blue I might best describe as gemstone. Did you know that sometimes gemstones are tumbled and these are known as tumbled stones?

In other news. My sister sent along this link to Neko Case’s appearance on Substack. It is called Now Entering the Lung, and there is adult language and also much joy.

It’s a whole big thing now. Substacks. I’ve been traveling along in creativity with Jeff Tweedy and Thao Nguyen for a while, now, in their newsletters respectively titled Starship Casual and For the Record. Here is an article from March 9th of this year about what a musician is doing on Substack, called What’s A Musician Doing on Substack?. It is an article written by Thao.

Here is an extensive quote which I have pulled much in the way of a mime pulling a rope in that I have not really pulled anything at all.

I am one of so many for whom 2020 was a great saboteur, but also a great clarifier. Until recently, making records has been quite harrowing for me. Almost everything I’ve made over the last several years has been a very personal excavation, heavy things that needed to be carved out and released. It was necessary for me to write those songs, but the processes were painful enough to compromise my relationship to making and releasing music. But now! Through the tumult of last year, I am freer and lighter and want to talk about, practice, and share music as I never have before. I aspire to be more like those prolific writers and composers who are always creating and releasing art, not because a deal dictates they should, but because they do not hamstring themselves with over-analysis, preciousness, or perfectionism. I want to be far less pensive and participate at a speed that is well beyond my proven pace. I want to make songs without knowing whether or not they will end up on my next album. For the Record is an exploration of what kind of artist I want to be moving forward.

Speaking of artists that do not hamstring themselves, here’s a reminder of that one time Japanese Breakfast published a song everyday for the month of June. This project was called June.

During the pandemic, I made up a prompt and wrote to that prompt a flash sort of fairytale everyday for a few months. Here is one such tale. Enjoy.

Prompt for this tale: Write a 200 word story about smartphones, a forest, and a bear.

In the forest was a bear. The bear was not like other bears. The forest was not like other forests. The bear was an accountant. The forest was a city. The bear accounted for what was by others lost and found. The bear did not in counting what others had found and lost feel either found or lost. The bear watched tv and the bear looked into its phone trying to be found and trying to be lost and the bear found that the feeling of being lost or found felt more and more like a dream, and, so, the bear decided to stop accounting for things. The bear decided to stop watching and looking.

The bear decided instead to dream.

So, the bear went into hibernation.

And the bear slept for a long time.

And the bear dreamed many dreams.

After a long winter of sleeping and dreaming, the bear came out into the city that was a forest and everyone was like and not like themselves.

Happy Wednesday, readers.


p.s. The Most Unusual Gems You’ve Never Heard Of

real life. sort of.

Hello, readers.

Regina Spektor performed last night at the Southbank Centre. She wore a billowing black blouse and incredibly red shoes. She sang songs about orca whales and dark-hearted politicians. Picket fences and horns hidden beneath fedoras. Her voice–always playful, often operatic–echoed this night with deeper sadness and necessity. It rose and cracked and went on standing. Occasionally, it slipped into Russian. That’s a thing she can do, having growing up in the Soviet Union.

“Real life,” she had said, when she first sat at the piano.

“Real life. Sort of.”

She mentioned, more than once, feelings of depression, of greyness, of finding it hard to play. At times, it appeared she might cry during a song. I think, perhaps, she might have. I certainly did. Only once, did she speak at length about the election. Taking a break halfway through the show, she talked about being on tour these past couple months. About being away and the dislocated feeling of returning to a home that no longer felt like home. Searching for ways to go on. Love and friends and art. It didn’t seem like enough to travel with.

But this is what she had.

And this is what she gave us.

She went back to playing. And the three songs she played next tore my heart out and held it up and said look. See? Here it is. Here is where it always is.

Everything she couldn’t bring herself to say. Everything that brought her nearly to tears before and after and during each song she performed this night poured out of her. Her voice made a sound I’m not sure I’ve heard before.

Here are the names of two of the songs she played.

And a few of the lyrics from each.

“Ballad of the Politician”

A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men
This is how it happens
Our world under command

Shake it, shake it baby
Shake your ass out in that street
You’re gonna make us scream someday
You’re gonna make us weak

But I am
But I am
But I am not a number, not a name

“Apres Moi”

Be afraid of the lame
They’ll inherit your legs
Be afraid of the old
They’ll inherit your souls
Be afraid of the cold
They’ll inherit your blood
Apres moi, le deluge
After me comes the flood

I must go on standing
You can’t break that which isn’t yours
I, oh, must go on standing
I’m not my own, it’s not my choice

After the show, she received, as she deserved, a standing ovation that lasted for quite some time. I looked around at everyone. And everyone looked around at everyone else. Taking it all in. All of us standing, our faces lit as much by the darkness as by the light.

I told EG, later on at home, that I had never seen anything quite like it. I joked that, perhaps, this is what shows were like in Germany in the 20s, before the flood.

Haha, I said. Hah. Um.



Here we are, readers. If you hear someone singing a song near you, listen. They might have the words you need.




Hello, readers.

I wrote a thing about Nick Drake for the folks over at And now we rise. It came about after listening, and tweeting about, the 99% Invisible episode about him, Three Records from Sundown. Here’s the beginning of that thing I wrote:

Under the television, behind a couple of cabinet doors, she kept her collection of CDs, a myriad of albums, artists, and mixes. For a time, after she left, she left that collection behind. I guess I knew one day she would come back for it, and she did, but in between when she first left, and when she came and collected everything, I listened, I swallowed, I absorbed, I pushed that music deep, deep down into my soul, holding on to what we had and what I knew we had lost. Among those CDs–so many of them just CD-R’s with the name of an album, artist, or mix written in black marker–were Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Badly Drawn Boy, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and one mix called “The Frantic Panic Mechanics.” The music blurred into a soundtrack for that moment. One of those CDs had a name written on it I had never seen before.

Nick Drake.

Head over to And now we rise to read the rest. Music is the best time machine. Well. Except for a delorean.

Also. It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S.

So, remember, if you make a bear, undo it, whether you meant to make a bear or not.

Also, also. Someone quoted this passage from To Kill a Mockingbird the other day. It seemed right.

“Atticus–” said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway. “What, son?”
“How could they do it, how could they?”
“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it — seems that only children weep.”

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (published in 1960 – based in 1936)

Happy today, readers. Be awesome. Be worthy of thanks.

Thank you.