Well, I had my last day of regular class today, an Ethics lecture with the legendary, highly knowledgeable, and ever-so-sweet Thomas Nagel, who is sans hyperbole perhaps the greatest living philosopher. I’m still a little star-struck in his class. This being the last lecture, wrapping things up as neatly as possible for an undergrad philosophy course, it ran a little long and his last words to the class were, simply, “Well, looks like there’s no time for discussion. So long.”
The class applauded thunderously.
I’m not sure why but as I was leaving NYU’s Silver Center this song from Pal Joey started boppin’ around my brain, and I began humming it, then singing it outright to myself, and felt compelled to find a piano and hammer out the tune as best as I could remember.
And so begins, with the last scheduled lecture of the semester as two weeks of finals loom ahead, the second installment of my impromptu-iPhone-piano-covers-to-avoid-work series, Procrasti-Covers.
"Joke." is the description from the uploader, but I’m a fan. This from Ben Krieger (Sidewalk head honcho ever Lach departed about a decade ago) under the moniker Yossarian Feedback (a Catch-22 reference?) which usually consists of samples and loops of found sound. One very striking piece I recall included recordings of his young daughter asking about a river, then laughing, then crying, juxtaposed with a Barack Obama speech about 9/11 and also Vietnam-era pro-America propaganda. Man…
I have a SoundCloud.
please, everyone, stop using reverbnation- let’s stop this together
Can we also all stop using BandCamp? Please? Can we all just release everything we’ve ever written on Spotify next Tueday? Please? ….guys?
i disagree, bandcamp is wonderful. it’s…
I too do think bandcamp is wonderful, and have released a fair amount of material on it. However, I think over the past year or so there’s this “oooooh… so you’re only on bandcamp?” reaction that I just hate. If it weren’t for that stigma, whether or not it’s a real one, I’d be with you 100%.
I really wish there was a way to monetize SoundCloud. Wait, is there? They’ve been doing a lot of updating lately, and I know there’s ways to link to buy, but maybe that’s all.
Did this just now in the Third North piano room. Incredibly rough, poorly recorded, exclusively for all you lovely Tumblr friends. Certainly not going to put this up on SoundCloud, even though my “Procrasti-Covers” series there is pretty crappy… thinking of deleting all that now that I’m writing/recording/being serious again…
Langor / Brian Langan is an awesome musician. Love his tune “Ladyblade,” which I think some of the Spinto dudes helped play & record.
Our new album, Cool Cocoon is out February 5th. Pre-order it here.
ATTENTION ALL MY FOLLOWERS
The Spinto Band seems to actually have a Tumblr now. (Uh-oh.) But in any case everybody should pre-order this album, and, if you haven’t already, check out the only single publicly heard so far:
As long as I’m vainly scrubbing through my SoundCloud as we approach New Year’s Eve Day (that’s where that year-and-a-half old embarrassing voice Swell Season cover came from) why not also throw up this time I mashed up LCD Soundsystem and Billy Joel one day when I should have been doing something else in a piano room at Fox Studios?
[click above for narration and music by yours truly]
narrated by barton lewis
When he woke up, he found himself in a state of perfect compliance with his Theory Of Perpetual Middleness.
Which is to say, he found himself in the middle of the following five things:
- His roof
- The night
- A dream about freckles
- A thunderstorm
Back when he had been sitting next to a Key Lime pie just a few hours earlier, it had been a perfectly good time to be on his roof.
A thunderstorm, it seemed, was a decidedly not so good time.
Perhaps it was not the absolute worst time to be on his roof, but, still: it was less than ideal.
He understood that life is generally less than ideal, and that, should you choose, you can spend much of your less than ideal life complaining about just how less than ideal it truly is, especially in comparison to other people’s less less than ideal lives.
But he also understood that certain less than ideal situations are entirely in your control, and you can often improve these situations dramatically simply by getting off of your roof and climbing back through the window into your bedroom.
(Meteorologists agree: the likelihood of a thunderstorm taking place in your bedroom is very, very low.)
Once inside his bedroom, he shut the window behind him. At that point, he realized that he hadn’t opened the window in order to get in. Had he broken through the window? He began to check the immediate area for any blood and broken glass, but then he distinctly remembered having shut the window behind him, and there would have been no reason for him to shut a broken window. I must have left the window open when I climbed out last night, he said aloud to no one in particular. He noticed the state of his room, which was a state of extreme disarray. He couldn’t recall having left it in such a state, but then he remembered the window-left-open. Everything about the bedroom suggested that a thunderstorm had torn through right it, because, in fact, a thunderstorm had torn through it.
(Meteorologists agree: the likelihood of a thunderstorm taking place in your bedroom is very, very low. But it does happen.)
He surveyed the damage. He noted that it was the first time he used “survey” as a verb and not a noun, which somehow seemed significant. He generally kept a precariously high stack of 3/4-finished books on his nightstand, and the books were now strewn across the floor. They looked very helpless. The nightstand looked helpless, too. He had forgotten that the nightstand was really just a stool. He considered the usefulness of a stool and wondered if it might be better to just leave the books on the floor forever so that he might have another place to sit, but this option clearly favored the stool and not the books, and he liked the books too much to do that sort of thing to them. Someday, you’ll be a stool again, he told the stool, but he was careful not to make any promises, because really, he didn’t know if that was true.
At that point, he crouched down to the floor in order to begin collecting the books.
And then: something happened.
He noticed the pattern in which his books were arranged on the floor. All nine of them were back-cover-up, exposing nine different photographs of nine different authors to the sky, but that wasn’t what caught his attention. What mattered was the shape of everything. They had fallen in an arrangement that was entirely unremarkable but somehow all too familiar. It was not a recognizable geometric staple, like a circle or a square or a trapezoid. It was something entirely unique, but it couldn’t possibly be entirely unique, because he knew that he had seen it somewhere before.
He was not in the habit of interpreting patterns, but that didn’t really matter, because it is never too late to acquire a habit.
He stared at the books for a very long time.
He looked at their arrangement from different heights and angles with varying degrees of squinting.
He wondered if it was possible to interpret what the pattern meant, as one might divine meaning from tea leaves or tarot cards.
This was, in fact, very possible, because, as it turns out:
There is more than one way to read a book.
Somewhere, there was thunder.
And, as is often the case with thunder, lightning soon followed.
But the lightning wasn’t outside:
It was right there in his bedroom.
It was right there in his head.
He suddenly knew where he had seen the shape echoed in the arrangement of the books.
It had been forged in certain freckles, on a certain right cheek, belonging to a certain young woman at a certain pie shop.
And so: he ran.
At first he ran as though he had been struck by lightning, and then he ran faster than that.
He ran out of his house.
He didn’t even shut the door behind him, and he quickly and quietly asked a passing gust of wind to blow it closed on his behalf, which it did.
The thunderstorm was still in full effect, which he understood to be a less than ideal situation.
But he also understood that certain less than ideal situations are entirely in your control, and you can often improve these situations dramatically simply by running between the raindrops.
And he kept running.
He ran faster than he had ever run in his entire life.
He realized that the last time he had run nearly that fast was a few days prior, when he had been running away from the scene of a crime for which he was entirely responsible.
And then, he realized how just how different it feels to be running towards something rather than away from something.
And the difference frightened him.
And the difference felt good.
And just when he thought that he couldn’t run any faster, the world helped him.
The trees bent their boughs to protect him from the rain, and when they couldn’t, the rain went out of its way to avoid him.
The wind blew him in the right direction and moved debris from his path.
The traffic lights at every crosswalk turned green in his favor when they saw him approach.
Go, the traffic lights said.
And the world echoed: Go.
And as he ran, he saw that he was leaving a trail in his wake.
And he looked down to see that things were falling out of his pockets.
Miles of mechanical pencils and avocado pits and wrenches and doorknobs and pennies and lampposts and washable markers and shards of glass and gallons of the ocean.
Everything was falling away.
And all of it was falling away from him.
He hadn’t even realized how much he had been carrying.
By the time his pockets were finally empty, he found himself face to face with a sign that read:
And the trees and the rain and the wind and the traffic lights wished him good luck, and told him that they were going to go back to their regular jobs now, if that was all right with him, which it was.
So he thanked the trees and the rain and the wind and the traffic lights, and they returned to the natural order of things.
He was alone.
He was there.
There he was.
It was deserted, which made sense, as it was nearing 4:00 AM, and 4:00 AM is no time for a pie shop to be operating.
He sat between two trash cans and pretended to be a third trash can.
And he waited.
And he put his hands in his pockets, and his pockets were spacious, and warm, and waiting to be filled with something important.
And he felt his heart beating very fast.
And he knew that it, too, was a pocket.
He fell asleep at 4:17 AM.
The storm subsided at 5:39 AM.
A young woman with freckles arrived at 6:21 AM.
She saw her sign.
And she saw her shop.
And she saw two trash cans.
And she saw a third trash can, which wasn’t a trash can at all, but a sleeping man.
She checked her watch.
It was 6:23 AM.
Seven minutes prior to the time she was supposed to begin her work day.
She decided that she would be late to work.
She sat down next to him, and pretended to be a fourth trash can.
And she waited for him to wake up.
If you decide to wait for someone to wake up, you must go into it with the understanding that it might not happen.
You must accept the possibility that this person might never wake up.
So, just by waiting, you are taking a great risk.
You are being very brave.
Yes. You are being very brave.
When you wait for someone to wake up, you must be willing to wait forever.
Here Is A Man - “Thirty-Three”
written by Katie Eisenberg
narrated by Barton Lewis
This spoken-word piece I did is now officially on the website over at http://www.hereisaman.com/#!thirty-three/cl8l so I thought I’d repost this with the link added for all you lovely 110 people. Of whom perhaps 5 will ever read this. Seriously considering throwing in the towel re. my creative life and going back to pure academia/making Krabby Patties.
Amazing song. Brilliant production. For lack of a better music vocabulary, it’s got amazing plingy & pringy things and dickey rides and even some fat, nay PHAT synth towards the end. Listen & enjoy… lyrics and chords below.
Tower of Lovers
by Jonathan Mann
Song A Day #1445
i’m like you and you’re like me
and it goes on like that for infinity
until you’re not like me anymore
it could be the weather and it could be the moon
it could be a waitress that makes her swoon
but it’s not like it was before
and you wait under the covers
for some great tower of lovers
to topple down
but they say only the lonely
know just how this dog and pony
my best guess is a cloudy haze
and i’m little boy lost with heart ablaze
burning everything i touch
and it wouldn’t matter, wouldn’t mean a thing*
like caged canary that was trained to sing
but i love you so much
and in your world of bubbles
you’re popping all of your troubles
with friends friends
but no one is closer
you glide on through a ghost or
a cat meow
no one no one no one no one knows
how to dress me up in the finest clothes
and take me for a stroll
i get up then i sit down
i walk by trees and grass dead brown
a heart as black as coal
New Spinto Band single.
Ridiculous amounts of horase. Probably shouldn’t have done this Procrasti-Cover. But, what was I gonna do, my work? HAH!
One of the best things to come out of Scranton since Pogash Pizza, Mike Quinn is a real great songwriter with a catchy charismatic delivery who in no way deserved this being done to his song. Oh, well.
As this is the first recorded on my new iPhone 5, this Procrasti-Cover contains 50% less MSG. How does it sound to you?
The album this comes from is all folkjangletwangawesome: http://mikequinn.bandcamp.com/ BUY IT!!
Here Is A Man - “Thirty-Three”
written by Katie Eisenberg
narrated by Barton Lewis
New Spinto Band single.