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Up on that pole

from Saturday, July28th of the year2007.

I love the BBC World Service; in my assorted 20 minute commutes between the studio where I’m working and downtown Reykjavík, I’ve heard the most lovely programs on Food Historians; I wish I could find it again because the one man (John Griffiths) promised that his next book was about the history of electric lights. BiryaniHe also totally said, “tentacular.” There seems to be a glut of programming in the general category of “Didja ever realize how much day-to-day stuff up in England is a vestige of Empire?” Lizzie Collingham breathlessly described how eating a mouthful of Pilau rice immediately stages her in the long history of Northern Indian cuisine; I bought her book on curry and am interested to see how thoroughly (or, rather, tentacularly) she addresses her own gazes; the ALA’s listing of her book begins, “Like a fragrant biryani studded with bits of sweet and savory relishes, every page of this history of Indian cuisine…” Uh-oh.

A quick list!

1. I’m elbow-deep in this new Harry Potter and while writing this had a Mystic Vision of J.K. Rowling writing a series of Young Adult Fiction set during the Raj. Is that what I want, or is that just what I think I want?

tentacle.png2. Speaking of Tentacles, this boy whose band is recording in this studio here rolled in the other morning wearing the most genius scarf. First of all, it’s tiny. Second of all, it’s squid-themed. Click on it for a closer look. I was getting my car keys to make a beeline to the retailer when he told me that his grandmother made it for him, or great-aunt or something; I didn’t want to follow that up with, “Where she at” on the off-chance that she had Passed On or was Demented, so I let it go. But I did then peruse one of my favorite websites, Squidfire, featuring surly blonds wearing tentacle-themed designs; go and support them if you’re in favor of either.

3. One of the reasons I like the BBC is that they seem to have slightly less offensive “generic third world background noise” than on NPR. Do you know what I mean? I swear to God they have a modular noisebank with mandatory chickens and motorcycles, and then optional ululating chickensjpg.jpg(for the Middle East) or hysterical praying (Latin America). I think this is a vestige of the notion of the “Arab Street” (or, for that matter, any other synecdochal “street”) being a legitimate way to discuss other peoples; anyway, I’m not even going to get into this because I don’t have my copy of Orientalism at hand and you should even see what happens when you google, “Arab Street.” Anyway, the other day, I was listening to a report from Iraq, and they played a little song in praise of Muqtada al-á¹¢adr, and then all of a sudden somebody was playing Akon’s I want to f**k you! Amazing! They played the unexpurgated version in the background! Right there on the Beeb! They probably thought it was in Arabic. Here is CocoRosie covering it with slightly different lyrics. As you all know, I am a huge enthusiast of their Kevin Lyttle cover.

RosAYYesterday, I played an in-store concert at 12-Tónar, which is one of the two old venerable Icelandic music outlets. About 100 people turned up in the garden; it was lovely! There was pink wine, too. My favorite moment ““ and when I get a picture of this it will go right up ““ was when Ben Frost, Valgeir and Árni Heimir Ingólfsson all three turned (and wind-shielded) pages for Una, who was valiantly playing a borrowed violin with a crazy duct-taped pickup. I looked over from my little keyboard stand and had a rush of Community Goodwill, which carried me through the rest of the evening. Here is a picture taken from my friend’s balcony; we are all playing at that church on August 11.


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