Thursday, October 31, 2013


Oddly enough, while as a child I hypostasized so many abstractions, I left out the Calvinistic Devil.  He never worried me, for I could not take him seriously.  The fatal influence of Robert Burns made me regard him as a rather humorous and jovial figure;  nay more, as something of a sportsman, dashing and debonair.  I agreed with the old Scots lady who complained that “if we were a eident in the pursuit oour callings as the Deil, puir man, it would be better for us. “  I would not have been afraid if he had risen suddenly out of the cabbage-garden at Halloween.  Sin was a horrid thing, but not the Arch-Sinner.

From:  John Buchan, Memory Hold-The-Door (“Wood, Water and Hill”), London, Hodder & Stoughton,  Ltd.,  1940.

SCOTTISH Note:  "eident" -- diligent and conscientious; "puir" -- poor; "deil" -- devil.

Upper:  Glenshee near Devils Corner, Scotland

Lower:  Devil with kneeling couple, Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

Roxy Music:  In Every Dream Home A Heartache (Link)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Why Lou Reed’s death set off such a shockwave in me I don’t know, but that’s the way it is with death shockwaves.  The horribleness hits;  you try to push it away either by physically flailing or silently closing the mind;  but it comes back at you, it won’t absent itself, ever.

I first heard Lou Reed’s music on a disposable flexi-disc recording of a Velvet Underground song included in a special Andy Warhol-designed issue of Aspen magazine.  I was a high school freshman and remember the moment perfectly -- unfriendly, unbelievably aggressive & piercing  noise following the floppy item floating down the spindle and stylus hitting the grooves.  I recoiled in the manner intended; I guess that’s what is meant by “├ępater les bourgeois.”  

By senior year, I was a big, big VU fan and was also addicted to Lou’s first solo album,  the one it's not hip to like, which featured jacket art by the fellow who illustrated the Ballantine Raymond Chandler reissues my friends and I were deep into.  "Lou Reed" (the lp) and the Chandlers were BOTH GREAT and seemed to go together at the time.

Lou made some of the most beautiful music ever and wrote some of the best lyrics, so many of them ("Some Kinda Love"; "Pale Blue Eyes") everlasting eye-openers.  He also sang them better than anyone else could ever hope to, i.e,  naturally and conversationally, as if he were telling inevitable and true stories, weird poetic legends.  I will never understand how Lou was able to make such fine records and be such a terrible live performer.  You can’t have everything, I suppose.

A giant walked the earth. Right now I feel  more than a void, more than a profound sad silence.

Velvet Underground: Venus In Furs (Link)

Velvet Underground: Some Kinda Love (Link)

Monday, October 28, 2013


I read an old Lou Reed interview tonight, which I liked so much, where he discussed (unpretentiously, in an impressive, impassive, advanced and sophisticated) shop-talk manner, USING VERY FEW WORDS, the salient differences between some art forms.

In his description, he emphasized the basic physicality of rock & roll, which had a decisive impact on the lyrics, the music, their internal intellection/combustion engine, and their interaction with and perception by the audience.

He made the point more simply than I would, using fewer words but saying more.

The rest is silence.  Gimmie Some Good Times (please).


Lou Reed: Wild Child (Link)

Lou Reed: Gimmie Some Good Times (Link)