UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Pretty self-explanatory
User avatar
A rope leash
Posts: 1803
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: southern misery, USA

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby A rope leash » Mon May 16, 2016 12:46 pm

I was surprised at how much of his childhood he recalls. I kind of liked the family history, as it makes it easier to see how someone becomes a professional musician. It helps if you are born to it.

I wish he had dished more on Diana, and I didn't see a thing about Bruce's novel.

He's very wise to stay out of useless trouble...yet in the book he admits to courting it. He just didn't court it much in his biography.

I know how it feels. It will kill you if you don't let it slide.

User avatar
Jack of All Parades
Posts: 5664
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Where I wish to be

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon May 16, 2016 5:20 pm

[quote="Poor Deportee"]My copy has a weird defect. The last 150 pages or so are out of place, so that the final chapters appear about 2/3 of the way through the book. :shock: All the content is there, just out of order. I trust that in 100 years my descendants will be able to cash in on Antiques Roadshow.

I could have done without all the family history myself. This seems to have been absolutely integral to EC's conception of the project, but personally I have little interest in his grandparents and ancestors; he'd have been better to have done the research and written it up as a private resource for his kids. Alas, it seems typical of EC to freight up his work with such excess. Apart from that structural flaw, the book is most enjoyable, and at times even movingly eloquent (my favourite being his evocations of his courtship with his first wife).

Without having read all the rock memoirs out there, my guess is that the book warrants a runner-up status in the 'rock memoirs sweepstakes,' behind Dylan's Chronicles. In fact, it's interest to compare the two. EC's is elaborate, even bloated, in the tone of a likeable man, expansive but slightly professorial and diligent fellow. He attained success, clearly, by earnest effort, the sweat of his brow. Dylan's is more bemused, leaner, and elusive. Its structure is tautly brilliant and its voice compellingly distinct. You learn many more [i]facts from EC's book, but Dylan's book is like the man's art itself, ultimately of a higher order of sheer inspiration. This is not a criticism of EC. Like I say - it's an interesting contrast.[/quote
[/i]

I, too, am in that camp that could have done with considerably less of that family history-agree it would have been better served as a private history for family members. The book takes off in sustained interest for me when he is recreating studio time history or reflecting on the many encounters with peers or heroes. When he is in full flight, such as his reflections regarding the Imperial Bedroom sessions, he gives Dylan's recollections a run for the reader's ear and eye. For me a memorable section of EC's book was his remembrances of his time spent in Dylan's company. It is those moments when I found myself in the thrall of that murmuring person spinning stories in my ear and I was in no hurry for "the waitress to bring me the check".
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Tue May 17, 2016 10:00 am

Jack, I share your enjoyment of those vignettes. (Being a big Dylan fan, I was especially amused by that anecdote of these two giants reciting new lyrics to one another over a beer, amidst a tour in which they shared the bill - with Dylan giving EC a sharp look over that great 'tuberculosis' couplet in 'Jimmie.' Bob then goes out the next night and plays a crowd-pleasing set of his greatest songs, leaving EC in a puddle offstage at the thought of having to follow that :lol: )

Had Elvis restricted himself more heavily to a focus on his career, he might well have had a book to rival 'Chronicles.' As it is, it's too bloated, but a treasure-trove nonetheless.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns
I hope no living thing cries over his bones

User avatar
A rope leash
Posts: 1803
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: southern misery, USA

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby A rope leash » Tue May 17, 2016 11:32 am

The book suffers from the same circumstance I spoke of in another thread. He is pushed to do so much, and he does get it done but he depends too much on his science fiction twin to get it done one time. So the product isn't quite as great as it could be, but an under-worked and wandering literary piece is about all we can expect from a guy that has so many irons in the fire. We got over six-hundred pages, though, so how's that?

From what I understand, it was published without much editorial rewrite. I found a couple of printing errors in my copy, indicating that it may not have been proofread with care. I suppose the publishing editors didn't want to presume literary superiority over one of the greatest lyricists in history, and they knew full well it would sell, whatever it contained, at least to that core consumer fan Elvis has always provided.

Elvis has the chance to become truly great, and not simply in the annals of popular music. Jimmy Standing in the Rain/Can you Spare a Dime on the Detour DVD quite literally forced unexpected tears from my eyes. I hope his kind of showmanship is being accessed for the Broadway musicals.








Elvis! You are cancelling shows because of illness. Please take care of yourself! The world needs you!





But, please stay out of the phony left/right paradigm that is American politics. You know it's a joke and you know Madeline Albright. When you align with either side, you give legitimacy to what is absolutely a giant puppet show. I'm sure they do you favors for this, and I forgive you, but many, many stupid Americans will not. You want to be loved. Evil is everywhere, and will not be voted away. Please rise above it...you might be de facto ruler of the Earth someday.

Or your kids.

Screw the money.

Write the opera.

User avatar
Jack of All Parades
Posts: 5664
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Where I wish to be

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue May 17, 2016 12:08 pm

"Elvis has the chance to become truly great, and not simply in the annals of popular music. Jimmy Standing in the Rain/Can you Spare a Dime on the Detour DVD quite literally forced unexpected tears from my eyes."

I think I know what you are feeling, A Rope Leash. There are four songs in the last thirty years[to crib Mr. Marcus's notion] that have totally resonated with me, burrowing in deep within the crevices of my brain's cortex-two are by Dylan, "Blind Willie McTell" and "Nettie Moore", one by Jason Isbell, "Live Oak" and EC's "Jimmie Standing in the Rain". "Jimmie" has a power that few songs equal-for me it speaks to that eternal struggle against Mammon all real art has fought over the millennia. What really nourishes one's soul? When EC welds it together with "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime" I, too, shake with righteous indignation and let loose with some bitter tears. EC knows this effect as he has consistently chosen over the last years to strategically place this song towards the end of an evening's entertainment- a sobering reminder to his audience on any given evening of what is really important.

PD- if the book ever gets a reprint- I hope it will be edited to cut out that bloat and further amplify those delicious vignettes.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

User avatar
verbal gymnastics
Posts: 10134
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:44 am
Location: In a very fashionable hovel

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby verbal gymnastics » Tue May 17, 2016 1:13 pm

The science fiction twin analogy is a good one.

On 2 filmed occasions - the Club Date and the Spinning Songbook shows - the DVD was released before the band properly got into their stride. They were wasted opportunities in my mind. I didn't bother with the Allen Toussaint show DVD.

I enjoyed the book.
international laughing stock...

Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Tue May 17, 2016 5:55 pm

Jack of All Parades wrote:"Elvis has the chance to become truly great, and not simply in the annals of popular music. Jimmy Standing in the Rain/Can you Spare a Dime on the Detour DVD quite literally forced unexpected tears from my eyes."

I think I know what you are feeling, A Rope Leash. There are four songs in the last thirty years[to crib Mr. Marcus's notion] that have totally resonated with me, burrowing in deep within the crevices of my brain's cortex-two are by Dylan, "Blind Willie McTell" and "Nettie Moore", one by Jason Isbell, "Live Oak" and EC's "Jimmie Standing in the Rain". "Jimmie" has a power that few songs equal-for me it speaks to that eternal struggle against Mammon all real art has fought over the millennia. What really nourishes one's soul? When EC welds it together with "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime" I, too, shake with righteous indignation and let loose with some bitter tears. EC knows this effect as he has consistently chosen over the last years to strategically place this song towards the end of an evening's entertainment- a sobering reminder to his audience on any given evening of what is really important.

PD- if the book ever gets a reprint- I hope it will be edited to cut out that bloat and further amplify those delicious vignettes.


'Live Oak' is one of the greatest songs I've heard. All four that you mention are good choices.

It's interesting that this thread has taken a turn toward posterity, when EC himself has been adamant about not giving a hoot about it. I've always assumed that 'Almost Blue' will be the song that endures, myself.

But this raises the question of how a song attains that wider 'canonical' status, outside the narrow circles of an artist's hard-core following. It's comforting to think that time just naturally does its work, sifting wheat from chaff. I'm not so sure about this, though. Take 'Hallelujah,' the Leonard Cohen song that has become so widely covered as to almost a cliché. It's now being sung by middle school choirs, for Pete's sake; and is now so common that I find myself irritated at how the complexity of the song's meaning has, in most listeners' minds, been completely obliterated by the complacent uplift of its chorus. To my knowledge, this song was just laying there on Cohen's strong but forgotten record Various Positions - admired by 'insiders' in just the way 'Jimmie' is, but otherwise obscure - until Rufus Wainright's version was deployed at an apposite moment in the smash movie Shrek. Then the floodgates opened. But what if Shrek hadn't been a hit? What if the cover hadn't been as good? What if the filmmakers had chosen a different number? Etc.

Given the relative obscurity of EC's later work, an awful lot of things will have to go right for his songs from this era to enter the canon, I'd guess. This is especially so given the wordiness and elaborate nature of the scenario of a tune like 'Jimmie.' The gloomy truth may be that EC's best work will remain a specialized interest. Or maybe history will play a little joke - e.g., some throwaway like 'The Greatest Thing' will go down as his great contribution :lol: with all the really brilliant stuff buried.

(I don't see this happening with Dylan, BTW; his contribution and his standing in the popular culture are so massive that, like The Beatles, he will have to be reckoned with by posterity. The question with him is whether anything apart from his '60s classics will survive the whims of the canonizing process).
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

IbMePdErRoIoAmL
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:19 am

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby IbMePdErRoIoAmL » Tue May 17, 2016 7:38 pm

Poor Deportee wrote:Take 'Hallelujah,' the Leonard Cohen song that has become so widely covered as to almost a cliché. It's now being sung by middle school choirs, for Pete's sake; and is now so common that I find myself irritated at how the complexity of the song's meaning has, in most listeners' minds, been completely obliterated by the complacent uplift of its chorus. To my knowledge, this song was just laying there on Cohen's strong but forgotten record Various Positions - admired by 'insiders' in just the way 'Jimmie' is, but otherwise obscure - until Rufus Wainright's version was deployed at an apposite moment in the smash movie Shrek. Then the floodgates opened. But what if Shrek hadn't been a hit? What if the cover hadn't been as good? What if the filmmakers had chosen a different number? Etc.


I believe "Hallelujah" first began to reach a broader audience with Jeff Buckley's 1994 cover. Additionally, the song as used in the film is performed by John Cale. The Rufus Wainwright version was used only on the soundtrack.

erey
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Tue May 17, 2016 8:18 pm

I think the memoir is very, very good, but I agree that it might well have been one for the ages -- and I don't mean in the shallow wading pool of "rock memoirs" -- with the firmer hand of simpatico editor. As it is, it seems like two or three books, all completing for your attention. I count two excellent books and another good one in there, myself. It's not a matter of leaving anything there unpublished; it just seems like it might have been structured to better effect.

I disagree in particular that the family history should have been left out. I think that anyone who views this aspect of EC's story as incidental risks failing to understand not only the man himself and the shape his career has taken, but possibly a good chunk of his output as well. As it happens, the ecsongbysong blog is back just in time to help me make my point for one important aspect of what I'm talking about here: https://ecsongbysong.com/2016/05/13/exiles-road/

I must demur also at the idea put forth frequently -- including by no less august a personage than John Foyle -- that the book is like listening to EC tells stories in a pub. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what people mean by this, but I think this description give short shrift to, for lack of a better word, the literary aspects of the book. I mean "literary" (mostly) in the descriptive sense, not as an aesthetic value judgement. My point is if you read EC's words as strictly denotative, you're going to miss a lot of what he is saying. To pick a fairly obvious example: There's a reason the chapter that starts with the story of Ewan MacColl falling asleep on 15-year-old EC's stage debut and ends with EC, around the same time, pining for the girl who would become is first wife is titled "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". Rather than, say, "Dirty Old Town". Like I said, that one is sort of a gimme, but surely there's a 1500-word essay to be written on it alone. :wink:

johnfoyle
Posts: 14135
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:37 pm
Location: Dublin , Ireland

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 18, 2016 7:19 am

I must demur also at the idea put forth frequently -- including by no less august a personage than John Foyle -- that the book is like listening to EC tells stories in a pub.


Not worthy! Point accepted. I really must try & make time to post a more considered comment on the book. I'm , however, gladly busy with a lot of different things and just do not have the time. A friend who has read the book three times assures me that a really clever structure to the book become clear on the third read , so the seemingly haphazard one may , indeed, not be so.

Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Wed May 18, 2016 8:26 am

johnfoyle wrote:
I must demur also at the idea put forth frequently -- including by no less august a personage than John Foyle -- that the book is like listening to EC tells stories in a pub.


Not worthy! Point accepted. I really must try & make time to post a more considered comment on the book. I'm , however, gladly busy with a lot of different things and just do not have the time. A friend who has read the book three times assures me that a really clever structure to the book become clear on the third read , so the seemingly haphazard one may , indeed, not be so.


Two quick thoughts on this. One is that is seems all too perversely 'Elvis' to adopt a structure so intricate as to reveal itself only after multiple readings. This is in itself self-indulgent, or so I'd suggest. My other thought is that we can 'discover' a lot of things in texts quite independently of what may 'really' be there, or be there by authorial intent. (This is a well-established point in textual interpretation, but to see it in action, you just have to listen to some Dylanologists discussing the 'meaning' of Bob songs).
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

erey
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Wed May 18, 2016 12:58 pm

johnfoyle wrote:
I must demur also at the idea put forth frequently -- including by no less august a personage than John Foyle -- that the book is like listening to EC tells stories in a pub.


Not worthy! Point accepted. I really must try & make time to post a more considered comment on the book. I'm , however, gladly busy with a lot of different things and just do not have the time. A friend who has read the book three times assures me that a really clever structure to the book become clear on the third read , so the seemingly haphazard one may , indeed, not be so.


You are worthy, John! After I wrote that yesterday, I thought perhaps that, being Irish, you simply had very high standards for pub talk. So now you're going to tell me that when you and your friends pile into the snug at your local establishment, "Ulysses" doesn't just come flowing out of everyone's mouths? :)

While, unlike some, I didn't find the memoir hard to follow the first time through (people who call it "stream of consciousness" must not have read anything that really is stream of consciousness), I did feel a more definite structure asserting itself on my (unfinished) second read.

Poor Deportee wrote:
Two quick thoughts on this. One is that is seems all too perversely 'Elvis' to adopt a structure so intricate as to reveal itself only after multiple readings. This is in itself self-indulgent, or so I'd suggest. My other thought is that we can 'discover' a lot of things in texts quite independently of what may 'really' be there, or be there by authorial intent. (This is a well-established point in textual interpretation, but to see it in action, you just have to listen to some Dylanologists discussing the 'meaning' of Bob songs).


This seems like a odd and slightly churlish attitude to take, PD. We don't usually consider it to be to a work's detriment if it reveals more when given more attention, do we? We expect (good) fiction to have multiple layers, and likewise that most fictional of nonfiction genres, the memoir. So why shouldn't EC have aimed for that standard? His reach probably did exceed his grasp at times (in the absence of that hypothetical simpatico editor), but I think he was mostly successful and I can't begrudge him the ambition. In any case, I think this is more a reflection of how his mind really works -- something I think we'd expect and hope to see in any good memoir --- than any intentionally "perverse" choice.

Anyway, it's not as if we really are talking about "Ulysses" here. I doubt, given an interest in the subject matter, anyone who is able to read competently at about an 11th-grade level would have much trouble understanding EC's book, all layers accounted for.

As for the excesses of Dylanologists, I think this merely says something about the kind of people who take Dylan too seriously. The less said about that the better, by my lights.

User avatar
Jack of All Parades
Posts: 5664
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Where I wish to be

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed May 18, 2016 6:16 pm

"But this raises the question of how a song attains that wider 'canonical' status, outside the narrow circles of an artist's hard-core following. It's comforting to think that time just naturally does its work, sifting wheat from chaff. I'm not so sure about this, though."

A great question, PD, and one which may require greater resources to parse than this little site. I would like to think that quality rises like the proverbial creme but I probably delude myself. Taking it out into the world each show and prominently placing it in the evening's song sequence as something that the audience will exit the theater with fresh in their ears and minds is a good start. Hawking it with a Barnum pizazz by framing it with a prelude back story probably does not hurt, too. I watched a piece on the Evening News this evening about the creation and evolution of that seminal Coke commercial that haunted the recent ending of Mad Men. It struck me that zeitgeist need has to be fulfilled for a song to make such a leap into posterity. After all the social and economic turmoil most people have suffered over the last two decades and particularly since 2008 one would hope this song would become a balm for many who have been impacted and hurt. With the talk of 'layers' of meaning by Erey earlier in this thread, one can easily find many layers that speak directly to me, and I have to believe a great many others, within the lyric. At its most basic level within the lyric even the very physical elements of this world seem to be conspiring against Jimmy with a cruelty and meanness that is cosmic and Beckett comedic. Like an early Englishman of a higher class, that image of a man blasted by the elements alone on a platform has to tug at any sentient person. It is a cruel world; this song artfully and painfully reminds us of that in its basic humanity. I consistently do what I can to alert those in my world to the song's power and worth. Perhaps that is how it will best happen; we will all need to transform into Johnny Appleseed's of song.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Thu May 19, 2016 11:22 am

Jack of All Parades wrote:"But this raises the question of how a song attains that wider 'canonical' status, outside the narrow circles of an artist's hard-core following. It's comforting to think that time just naturally does its work, sifting wheat from chaff. I'm not so sure about this, though."

A great question, PD, and one which may require greater resources to parse than this little site. I would like to think that quality rises like the proverbial creme but I probably delude myself. Taking it out into the world each show and prominently placing it in the evening's song sequence as something that the audience will exit the theater with fresh in their ears and minds is a good start. Hawking it with a Barnum pizazz by framing it with a prelude back story probably does not hurt, too. I watched a piece on the Evening News this evening about the creation and evolution of that seminal Coke commercial that haunted the recent ending of Mad Men. It struck me that zeitgeist need has to be fulfilled for a song to make such a leap into posterity. After all the social and economic turmoil most people have suffered over the last two decades and particularly since 2008 one would hope this song would become a balm for many who have been impacted and hurt. With the talk of 'layers' of meaning by Erey earlier in this thread, one can easily find many layers that speak directly to me, and I have to believe a great many others, within the lyric. At its most basic level within the lyric even the very physical elements of this world seem to be conspiring against Jimmy with a cruelty and meanness that is cosmic and Beckett comedic. Like an early Englishman of a higher class, that image of a man blasted by the elements alone on a platform has to tug at any sentient person. It is a cruel world; this song artfully and painfully reminds us of that in its basic humanity. I consistently do what I can to alert those in my world to the song's power and worth. Perhaps that is how it will best happen; we will all need to transform into Johnny Appleseed's of song.


That's a great point about capturing the zeitgeist. You may be correct that this quality is crucial to 'canonization.' Then again, look at a song like 'All You Need is Love,' whose acceptance after 1967 has actually been hampered by its association with its specific historical moment. Hmmmm.

I agree with everything you say about 'Jimmie.' Yet I remain skeptical that it will make the jump. I suppose at root I'm just too dubious about the listening public. In EC's version, at least, the song is insufficiently accessible: wordy at the start ('punching out the shadows underneath the sockets'), too many sophisticated historical references, too exotic a scenario. People don't know what 'colliery' means. The vocal lacks auto-tune. It doesn't have a catchy beat. It offers no complacent uplift, cheap sentiment, or stroking of its audience's ego. Etc. These are all hallmarks of songs that resonate nowadays.

Now, a cover version by a famous star could change the equation, as could its skillful deployment in a blockbuster TV show or film. But I don't see this song capturing the zeitgeist in the absence of some such game-changing moment.

It's worth asking why NO song since the economic meltdown of 2008 seems to have channeled the rage and frustration on a mass scale. Art is supposed to reflect the times, yet all we seem to get are Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, breathlessly discussed by musical and pop culture critics as if they are significant artists rather than mere 'brands.' (Indeed, the 'brand' is precisely what is so fascinating to this ever-more-common school of criticism; music and lyric are afterthoughts relative to the image that they signify). Even the recession of the early '80s gave us Born in the USA. Surely the absence of any comparable work on this go-round is an indicator of an objective decline in top-40 music?

Erey, in terms of 'layers of meaning' in EC's memoirs: I have no trouble at all with 'layers,' but almost none of EC's readers have discerned any strong structure to that book. It is self-indulgent of an author to expect his readers to read his 600-page tome three times before the putative structure 'reveals' itself, is my point - assuming that this is indeed what EC was up to. I agree that we're not talking about Ulysses. And that's kinda the point.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

erey
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Thu May 19, 2016 12:54 pm

Poor Deportee wrote:Erey, in terms of 'layers of meaning' in EC's memoirs: I have no trouble at all with 'layers,' but almost none of EC's readers have discerned any strong structure to that book. It is self-indulgent of an author to expect his readers to read his 600-page tome three times before the putative structure 'reveals' itself, is my point - assuming that this is indeed what EC was up to. I agree that we're not talking about Ulysses. And that's kinda the point.


I'm not sure a "strong structure" is necessary for a book to qualify as good, let alone non-self-indulgent. But whatever.

I think part of the reason the book lacks the continuous narrative drive that (I guess) detractors are looking for is that EC's life is not really all that interesting, as a narrative. (Lucky for him.) Basically, it goes like this: "Extremely talented scion of a musical family is determined to have a career in music... and does!"
Last edited by erey on Thu May 19, 2016 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
A rope leash
Posts: 1803
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: southern misery, USA

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby A rope leash » Thu May 19, 2016 1:09 pm

It almost seems like he had to create some hollow adversity in his life so he could overcome it.

He could have dished more and poked up the fire. He doesn't care enough to be angry anymore, and I guess it's a good thing.

It's a good slice of the history of the last days of the "record industry".

In the future, your idols will be assigned to you.

Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Thu May 19, 2016 2:42 pm

erey wrote:
Poor Deportee wrote:Erey, in terms of 'layers of meaning' in EC's memoirs: I have no trouble at all with 'layers,' but almost none of EC's readers have discerned any strong structure to that book. It is self-indulgent of an author to expect his readers to read his 600-page tome three times before the putative structure 'reveals' itself, is my point - assuming that this is indeed what EC was up to. I agree that we're not talking about Ulysses. And that's kinda the point.


I'm not sure a "strong structure" is necessary for a book to qualify as good, let alone non-self-indulgent. But whatever.

I think part of the reason the book lacks the continuous narrative drive that (I guess) detractors are looking for is that EC's life is not really all that interesting, as a narrative. (Lucky for him.) Basically, it goes like this: "Extremely talented scion of a musical family is determined to have a career in music... and does!"


Just to be clear, I don't mind the 'anecdotal' approach at all. It's basically EC telling a bunch of stories, in the somewhat random way that you'd get from an elegant and expansive raconteur over a pint - which is why so many commentaries on the book draw precisely that analogy. What I was objecting to was the idea that some secret structure reveals itself upon multiple readings. If this is not a figment of the claimant's imagination, which I suspect it is, then it's rather self-indulgent 'secret writing' on EC's part.

My main criticism of the book is just that the 'family' stuff bogs it down, to my mind. I didn't care about his grandparents going in, and still don't.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

User avatar
Top balcony
Posts: 542
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: Liverpool

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Top balcony » Thu May 19, 2016 2:59 pm

erey wrote:....EC's life is not really all that interesting, as a narrative. (Lucky for him.) Basically, it goes like this: "Extremely talented scion of a musical family is determined to have a career is music... and does!"


This is epic, you could readily fill in for John Crace's fantastic "digested read" column in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/series/digestedread

I'm in awe of some of the PhD level discourse on this thread. Here's my 11-plus take:

I really enjoyed it, I have to say. The 'structure' worked for me, as a refreshing change from the strictly chronological. I also buy into his idea of an index-free publication. This is a variation on the Stiff motto (or something quite like it) 'when it's gone you've missed it' . I accept that I'll never have the necessary motivation to re-locate that Solomon Burke story for example. But I will re-read the account of Ross' last days which were heart achingly moving. This extemely sad section was beautifully written. Since we're the same age, his childhood and late teenage memories of Liverpool were really evocative for me too. Speaking of which, I'm convinced that I saw Rusty ! I was certainly at the Tir na Nog gig at St George's Hall, when our man and his mate were the support.

Colin Top Balcony

erey
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Thu May 19, 2016 5:23 pm

Poor Deportee wrote:
Just to be clear, I don't mind the 'anecdotal' approach at all. It's basically EC telling a bunch of stories, in the somewhat random way that you'd get from an elegant and expansive raconteur over a pint - which is why so many commentaries on the book draw precisely that analogy. What I was objecting to was the idea that some secret structure reveals itself upon multiple readings. If this is not a figment of the claimant's imagination, which I suspect it is, then it's rather self-indulgent 'secret writing' on EC's part.


I'm about 99.9% sure I know what "friend" John Foyle was referring as having said this, because this person wrote essentially the same thing in another EC forum, and I can assure you he isn't given to mistaking figments of his imagination for reality. I said myself that the book seemed more formally structured when I started to read it a second time.

I think your being a bit silly with this "self-indulgent secret writing" business, but maybe I'm the one who doesn't get the joke. Plenty of things, not just books, don't reveal their structure until you get a good look at the whole thing. If you want to say EC could have used a good editor to help make whatever he was trying to do come over more clearly, then I agreed with you way up-thread. But "self-indulgent" is an accusation of moral failing, not aesthetic misstep.

Poor Deportee wrote:
My main criticism of the book is just that the 'family' stuff bogs it down, to my mind. I didn't care about his grandparents going in, and still don't.


I think you're dead wrong on that, and I explained why up-thread, but to each their own. If EC had had the good sense and foresight to hire ME as his editor, I would have told him to cut a couple of the Dylan stories.
Last edited by erey on Thu May 19, 2016 5:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

erey
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Thu May 19, 2016 5:32 pm

Top balcony wrote:
erey wrote:....EC's life is not really all that interesting, as a narrative. (Lucky for him.) Basically, it goes like this: "Extremely talented scion of a musical family is determined to have a career is music... and does!"


This is epic, you could readily fill in for John Crace's fantastic "digested read" column in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/series/digestedread

I'm in awe of some of the PhD level discourse on this thread. Here's my 11-plus take:

I really enjoyed it, I have to say. The 'structure' worked for me, as a refreshing change from the strictly chronological. I also buy into his idea of an index-free publication. This is a variation on the Stiff motto (or something quite like it) 'when it's gone you've missed it' . I accept that I'll never have the necessary motivation to re-locate that Solomon Burke story for example. But I will re-read the account of Ross' last days which were heart achingly moving. This extemely sad section was beautifully written. Since we're the same age, his childhood and late teenage memories of Liverpool were really evocative for me too. Speaking of which, I'm convinced that I saw Rusty ! I was certainly at the Tir na Nog gig at St George's Hall, when our man and his mate were the support.

Colin Top Balcony


Your appreciation is much appreciated, TB! Good to know I have some fans here. :D

Confession: I've read some of funnier parts of "Finnegans Wake", but I never even attempted "Ulysses", as far as I can remember. They did make me read an inhumane amount of Faulkner in the 11th grade, though.

P.S. Most cool about having seen Rusty. Now, that's an exclusive club!

User avatar
Jack of All Parades
Posts: 5664
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Where I wish to be

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu May 19, 2016 6:09 pm

"It's worth asking why NO song since the economic meltdown of 2008 seems to have channeled the rage and frustration on a mass scale. Art is supposed to reflect the times, yet all we seem to get are Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, breathlessly discussed by musical and pop culture critics as if they are significant artists rather than mere 'brands.' (Indeed, the 'brand' is precisely what is so fascinating to this ever-more-common school of criticism; music and lyric are afterthoughts relative to the image that they signify). Even the recession of the early '80s gave us Born in the USA. Surely the absence of any comparable work on this go-round is an indicator of an objective decline in top-40 music? "

Why indeed?- I at one time thought this one would be the candidate:

https://youtu.be/NeIrTXkA68M

but time has made me realize that the composition of the throngs that fill his stadium shows is made up of a good amount of the very people the songwriter is calling out-an irony I find quite funny. A good portion of the rest of that audience is made up of the people who have been hurt hard and who yet consistently vote for the very candidates who are against their best interests- equally ironic and sadly 'funny'. I suppose that is why I have hope for afflicted 'Jimmy'-hoping that listeners will at least see something of their lives in his 'human condition' story.

As to other comments I would prefer to leave the job of genealogical excavation up to the scholar/biographer who will have the envious job of giving context to EC's life in the coming decades. The present efforts in the memoir I believe would have been better served as a private publication for family. I would trade those chapters for more of those delicious murmurings from the mouth of that "elegant and expansive raconteur" and several more pints....it is then when his writing comes most alive for my ears. I too "didn't care about his grandparents going in, and still don't."
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'


Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Fri May 20, 2016 9:52 am

Jack of All Parades wrote:"It's worth asking why NO song since the economic meltdown of 2008 seems to have channeled the rage and frustration on a mass scale. Art is supposed to reflect the times, yet all we seem to get are Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, breathlessly discussed by musical and pop culture critics as if they are significant artists rather than mere 'brands.' (Indeed, the 'brand' is precisely what is so fascinating to this ever-more-common school of criticism; music and lyric are afterthoughts relative to the image that they signify). Even the recession of the early '80s gave us Born in the USA. Surely the absence of any comparable work on this go-round is an indicator of an objective decline in top-40 music? "

Why indeed?- I at one time thought this one would be the candidate:

https://youtu.be/NeIrTXkA68M

but time has made me realize that the composition of the throngs that fill his stadium shows is made up of a good amount of the very people the songwriter is calling out-an irony I find quite funny. A good portion of the rest of that audience is made up of the people who have been hurt hard and who yet consistently vote for the very candidates who are against their best interests- equally ironic and sadly 'funny'. I suppose that is why I have hope for afflicted 'Jimmy'-hoping that listeners will at least see something of their lives in his 'human condition' story.

As to other comments I would prefer to leave the job of genealogical excavation up to the scholar/biographer who will have the envious job of giving context to EC's life in the coming decades. The present efforts in the memoir I believe would have been better served as a private publication for family. I would trade those chapters for more of those delicious murmurings from the mouth of that "elegant and expansive raconteur" and several more pints....it is then when his writing comes most alive for my ears. I too "didn't care about his grandparents going in, and still don't."


Springsteen's career has been deeply ironic for decades - never more so than when Born in the USA, which is a great pop album whose title track utterly eviscerates America, yielded an anthem used by the Reagan presidential campaign. It is quite simply amazing how the critique given in so many of his lyrics is just outright ignored by his supposedly devoted 'fans.' I suppose one could argue that Bruce's propensity for American iconography - e.g., the cover of that album - plays with fire and practically invites this confusion. But given that the essence of his critique is in the spirit of King's 'I Have a Dream' speech (that is, it's animated by love of country, calling upon that country to be its best self), that's not really a fair criticism either. To put it bluntly: it boils down to a critical mass of music consumers being morons.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

User avatar
A rope leash
Posts: 1803
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: southern misery, USA

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby A rope leash » Fri May 20, 2016 10:17 am


Poor Deportee
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Chocolate Town

Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Poor Deportee » Fri May 20, 2016 11:28 am

A rope leash wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHJbSvidohg


:lol:
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones


Return to “Elvis Costello General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 32 guests