September 12, 2006

Food for brain & soul

Pursuant to #5 below, some nonfiction I’m reading:

Five Flights Up and Other New York Apartment Stories by Toni Schlessinger: an anthology of her Shelter columns from the Village Voice. Interviews with denizens of the city in and about their homes. At once fascinating, comical, and comforting as I adjust to my new quarters.

The Hard Questions for an Authentic Life by Susan Piver: bought long ago and allowed to collect dust on bookshelves in two states. Its time has come. Fantastic, thought-provoking questions about many areas: family, friendship, love, spirituality. Very clarifying.

On Becoming a Person by Carl R. Rogers: Published in 1961 by one of the revolutionaries of modern psychology, an argument in favor of what Rogers terms “client-centered therapy,” in which the patient and therapist build a healing relationship. This is hardly news 45 years later, but it was radical stuff when written. What intrigues me most about this book is (1) how courageously yet humbly Rogers puts forth his ideas and (2) how the journey of self-discovery he describes brilliantly articulates what I hope to gain from my own therapeutic process.

And pursuant to #14, after considerable overspending on iTunes, I offer a few songs for inspiration of many kinds:

Colin Hay, Beautiful World: a paradoxically melancholy celebration of simple pleasures. I'm so charmed by this song that I listened to it at least 6 times before I realized/remembered (well, okay, I actually read it online, but then I remembered, truly I did) that Colin Hay was the lead singer of Men at Work. How mortifying to my distinguished lineage as an 80s pop junkie that I didn't make the connection immediately! Bonus: one of the verses is about tea, my favorite nonalcoholic beverage.

Joey Ramone, What a Wonderful World: Whoa, this song rocks. Irresistible. NB: Not for gentle moments.

REM, Find the River: Opposite mood. "You have to go to task in the city, where people drown and people serve...Don't be shy, your just deserve is only just light years to go." This song was mysteriously written about Violet’s journey to New York to open an office for her company years before the fact. Isn’t that remarkable? If I could be reborn as any psychic gay man on the planet, hands down I would pick Michael Stipe.

Smashing Pumpkins, Tonight: “Believe, believe in me, believe...that life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain, we’re not the same, we’re different tonight…We’ll crucify the insincere tonight...Believe in me as I believe in you tonight.” Wow. Sign me up.

The Slip, Even Rats: Click the link to hear this beauty for free. Then go pay Apple a buck to download it. It's only fair! Confession: my exposure to this one came via Guitar Hero. (Yeah, I beat it on Expert. I’m not at all sure what this says about me, but there it is.) I absolutely love this song. Something brilliant going on in the brain of whoever wrote it. A spot-on political message, too.

10,000 Maniacs, These Are Days: “These days you might feel a shaft of light make its way across your face...and when you do, you’ll know how it was meant to be, see the signs and know their’s true, you’ll know how it was meant to be, hear the signs and know they’re speaking to you.” Natalie, she can seriously tap into those agnostic yearnings, yes indeed.

Finally, three delectably fluffy treats from my growing-up years:

Big Country, In a Big Country: Does anybody else remember how frickin' cute the lead singer of this Scottish band was? You know, in the video with the gorgeous green fields and cliffs and suchlike? Tell me I'm not the only one who remembers.

Nenah Cherry, Buffalo Stance: "No moneyman can win my love, it's sweetness that I'm thinkin of." Love this beat. Ten points to anyone who can explain to me what a buffalo stance is. I was never cool enough to know.

Tom Tom Club, Genius of Love: Just. Plain. Fun.

Any suggestions for my next reads/downloads?


  1. Never saw the Big Country video, but that song is super awesome. I just heard it in a commercial last night, so it's even starting to get some replay in corporate way.

    And call me crazy, but I heard a DJ once describe the "buffalo stance" as how prostitutes stand on the street when they're looking for clients. (I suppose the lyric "No money man, can win my love. It's sweetness that I'm thinking of" could support that. And for a bit of pop music family trivia, Nenah Cherry is the sister of Eagle-Eye Cherry, singer of the also-catchy "Save Tonight."

    Looking forward to hearing about your real-life encounters with fellow D-bloggers, too.

  2. Aha, that must be the buffalo stance secret. The whole song is sort of, well, about pimping.

    So I guess my ignorance was more of a worldliness problem than a coolness problem :) I have both...

  3. Not so sure it was a worldliness problem, V. Of all people (well, short of the prostitutes themselves, I suppose), I should recognize the term, but I've never heard it.

    Oh, and I remember thinking the Big Country guy was hot, too.

  4. Big Country guy was totally cute, although unitelligible. When he was interviewed on MTV (back when MTV actually played videos), they had to use subtitles.

    Nenah Cherry's dad was Don Cherry, the jazz trumpeter. Another useless fact culled from my fountain of trivial knowledge.

  5. What a bounty of trivia!

    J, maybe it's a regionalism :)