Unanticipated Claim to Fame

Holy shit. Critic Steve Smith of the Times has proclaimed Dennis Johnson's November, which I reconstructed and Andrew Lee recorded on Irritable Hedgehog, as the number one best classical recording of 2013. Of all of the ventures I've taken on in my life, I would not have picked this one to garner as much public resonance as it's received. I was talking to my good friend, radio personality, and songwriter extraordinaire David Garland about it recently, and pointed out that I had also resurrected Harold Budd's Children on a Hill, which is … [Read more...]

Off-Topic Economic Vignette

I took my boxes, paper, empty wine bottles, and what have you to the local recycling place after Christmas. The overweight old guy who runs the plant directed me to put all my trash in the garbage because the huge recycling bins were too full - the amount of recyclables people had brought in were off-the-chart voluminous. Obviously there had been a ton of Christmas presents locally (and it is a fairly upscale neighborhood). I faintly joked, "Well, I guess the economy must not be too bad." "Oh yeah," he replied, "there's nothing wrong with … [Read more...]

That Helps Clarify Things

There are authors of true originality in whom the least boldness offends because they have not first flattered the tastes of the public and have not served it the commonplaces which it is used to; it was in the same way that Swann roused M. Verdurin's indignation. In Swann's case as in theirs, it was the novelty of his language that convinced one of the darkness of his intentions. - Proust, Swann's Way … [Read more...]

Not with a Bang

The semester never rounds off to an end; it unravels. At some point you realize you've lost your students' attention; their roommates have scheduled their ride home during your final class in which you were going to sum everything up, or else they're skipping in favor of the graduation barbecue and their summer job; their final paper topics are not what you'd hoped, revealing that they weren't on the same wavelength as you after all; a couple of kids, sometimes the most eloquent, freak out or overdose and disappear from class; you yourself are … [Read more...]