I’m going to LA for the long weekend, and I’m so excited. Unlike a lot of Northern Californians, I love LA — it took some time, though. Part of the problem seems to be that LA gets all the attention because the dream of LA is the movies, the beach, the girls, the palm trees, basically all the ”good life” nonsense that Julius Shulman captured better than anyone who wasn’t working on a movie set.
Mystery Jets Featuring Laura Marling, “Young Love”
I first heard this last year on BBC’s Radio One. The Klaxons were DJ’ing and they were losing their shit over this song, calling it “The Hottest Record in the World.” I listened and promptly lost my shit, too. They’re pulling on so many traditions with this song - 50’s doo-wop, early 60’s pre-Beatles British pop, 80’s Prince songwriting - but it still sounds new. When are they going to get a domestic release for this album?
Not a “I took a ballet class when I was 6” dancer, but a 14-year, jazz-modern-tap, classes-all-the-time, practicing-in-my-sleep kind of dancer. I loved it, I still miss it, and I still do choreography in my head when I’m staring off into space.
Could I have been a contender? I don’t know. I didn’t have the body type for ballet but it’s possible that I could have made a go in jazz or modern. It’s certainly true that I never had the right teachers. My family wasn’t really in a position to understand how to find the right teachers for me, and I didn’t really think about what I could’ve done on my own until it was way too late.
I’m radical about not having regrets, so most of the time I don’t question what could’ve been. Then I glance over at Barbara Morgan’s photographs.
Major Lazer, “Hold the Line (Ghislain Poirier remix)
Two of the best DJs working right now. (Diplo on the track and Ghislain on the remix.) Santigold on vocals. An 808 jumping around on the floor like a broken jack-in-the-box. I’m done. Finished. If you need anything else from a song, no one can help you.
This may be the only time I post something that’s neither a photo nor a song. My favorite author, W. G. Sebald, died far too young and left so many readers hanging. He’s like Tupac in that his former editors and students keep going back to the vault, digging out whatever scrap of his prose that hasn’t been published yet, but if I lived in East Anglia I would do the same.
His former publisher dedicated the latest issue of Five Dials to him. There are famous writers fawning over him and a bit of Sebald’s own writing advice, from his last fiction class, and it’s all for free. I urge you to download it right now:
Speaking of the man, here are a couple of his shots. John Berger was so lucky to find a working partner with such skill and a similar sensibility. How can you not stop and stare at the people in his pics? So much frailty, so much strength.
This song reminds me so much of a Hemingway story, “In Another Country.” When I met Nathan Willett I had to ask him if he had been thinking about that story when he wrote the song. No, he told me — he had just finished For Whom the Bell Tolls and hadn’t gotten to the short works yet — but he was so excited that I’d asked. A fan who reads! he thought. Try to imagine how excited I was to meet a rock star who reads, Willett.
So I have my alarm clock set to the worst AC station you can imagine. How bad? So bad that “Pocket Full of Sunshine” is considered too “hard rock” for them. My philosophy is that the only thing that will get me out of bed is awful, awful music — it has to be so bad that I will get up to turn it off. The philosophy held until last week. Last week they played Hall & Oates.