eat look listen

books

Posted in Books, Music by eatlooklisten on October 19, 2008

I’m probably not as avid a reader as I should be. I tend to fall asleep or get carsick when reading on the train or the bus, and I’m usually too busy puttering around the apartment or on the internets for proper reading. Sometimes I do pick up a book, though, and the other day I picked up two: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The Omnivore’s Dilemma appealed to my wannabe foodie sensibility – over the past few years I’ve come to love food on a different level than just eating it, or really liking Oreos or secret-eating or whatever. I think it happened when I really began to enjoy cooking and baking. On the cooking side, it was fun and experimental – this probably goes with this, this probably tastes good with this, what happens if I pair this with this? Of course, baking is more of an exact science, and my fulfillment comes from really nailing a recipe down, or trying different versions of one thing. More recently, I’ve become more interested in where food comes from, and the impact that my buying and eating has on, well everything: the environment, the economy, my own health. The Pollan book attempts to breach that question…I’ve barely dented the first couple chapters, so I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s pretty interesting so far. Example: most of what you or I ate today came from corn and its derivatives, or corn fed animals. Sucks. The Gladwell book is something that I’d been eyeing for quite a while, ever since I heard him on This American Life, talking about how he blatantly bluffed and joked his way through his early writing career (who can get the phrase “raises new and troubling questions about” the most within a week?). The book is about the nature of epidemics, and contagious behavior. Illnesses and trends alike, apparently, spread in the same way. It’s a pretty cool premise. Again, I’ll let you know how it is when I’m done.

What I really wanted to buy, though, was a copy of Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds, a book I read a couple years ago and really, seriously loved. It’s a history of post-punk, both US and UK, and the bands that came of that scene. However, Borders has this weird, rinky-dink tiny version of the book, which kind of sucks. I feel like the version I read, although a paperback, was more hefty and seemed more comprehensive. And then The Man, my boyfriend, told me that the US version has some different content than the UK version, which he has in storage. I feel cheated! So naturally I didn’t get the version I saw at Borders, but maybe I’ll get it from Amazon UK. I highly recommend it, though – reading about Gang of Four, or the Pop Group, or Pere Ubu, or PiL, is pretty awesome.

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striking gold!

Posted in Music by eatlooklisten on October 15, 2008

I’ve only now just begun looking through the iTunes libraries of other computers here at the office, and I almost squealed upon finding that someone has Gene‘s “To See the Lights”. Who are you, and can we be BFFs forever? Thanks.

“SLEEP WELL TONIGHT! WOOOO!”

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Welcome. Also, I like Girls Aloud too much.

Posted in Music by eatlooklisten on October 13, 2008

Okay, so I have too many blog-type-things on the interwebs – Several Blogger blogs that languish without updates, a Twitter that I’ve since given up on, a Tumblog that was fun for about 12 minutes. They’re fun, shiny things that distract me until something else comes along.

However, I’ve decided to get rid of those things altogher, and combine them all into this catchall of the things that I think about, find, and like. And I’m going to talk about one of them now.

If you know me at all, and you most likely don’t, you know that I’ve been kind of an unrepentant, dyed-in-the-wool Britpop kid. Since those days, my love for UK mainstream indie has kind of spilled over into things like British movies, comedy, and, yes, even pop music. I mean, I’ve always kind of had a soft spot for radio pop, despite my more “underground” leanings, but the UK in particular has a little something extra.

God. I love their radio pop. I love how the UK embraces silly, campy, ubergay and ridiculously fun pop, the kind of music I fear would never take off here (with exceptions like, say, Katy Perry). There’s one group I hold especially dear to my heart, and that is Girls Aloud.

Their story is pretty crazy – they began on a TV American Idol style show called Popstars: the Rivals where a pair of girl and boy groups were voted into being, and then competed for the coveted Christmas #1 single. Girls Aloud won fair and square with a song called “Sound of the Underground”. I remember hearing it on Radio 1 or something and being fairly impressed…although a bit shallow, the music was pretty sophisticated and there were no contrived vocal acrobatics involved.

After that, I don’t know what it was…their penchant for churning out dancey, fun, and campy music with kind of crappy videos stole my heart, despite myself. Behold, a video I have often made fun of, but god that song is catchy…

I mean, seriously. The shouty “OH YEAH” parts! The indecipherable lyrics (“jumpin’ on my tutu”)! The immediate gay club appeal! Also the video is ridiculous and looks like it was made for $5. Amazing!

I heart them. Their new single is kind of a grower and is strangely a little too 80’s adult contemporary, like I feel like there’s a Simply Red/Swing Out Sister vibe going on. I might forgive them a little, though.

See?

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