So as you can see, everything more or less fell apart here. At any rate, here are a bunch of nice pictures from France without narration, because that would push the whole thing back even further.
So to start, here are some things I forgot to add from Albi. First, and most importantly, here I am flipping off Paul Gaugin’s works and, by extension, the “artist” himself.
Here’s a shot across the river there.
Here is a cool glass structure placed inexplicably atop an otherwise normal building.
On Friday we went award-winning winery Domaine Merchien. I took a picture of their wall of awards, but it came out fuzzy. Instead, here is the winery’s namesake leaning against my mother because it was 100 degrees out and, as you can see, he’s not really made for warm weather.
As part of our visit to the winery, the proprieters booked us into L’Auberge du Mas d’Aspech. We got lost and showed up 45 minutes late, but it didn’t seem to be a big deal. The food was wonderful. I’d say the highlight was this quiche which, as you know, is one of those things at which the French leave the rest of the world far behind.
Here I am feeling a bit smug after a wonderful meal.
Here’s the tree and sky behind the apartment.
So apparently the neighborhood in which I’m staying is the Williamsburg ca. 1999 of Amsterdam. Consequently, on Thursday I started my day at a place called The Breakfast Club. Afterward, I kind of made a loop up to Centraal Station, and then back around to the apartment.
Important life goals: a boat that you go to for grilling.
While not as salient to my life as a boat with a grill on it, I found this pretty wonderful.
Brutalism is best.
Meter box (I think.)
Houses with loading hoooks.
I’m still sleeping pretty poorly, and I woke up feeling pretty groggy on Friday. I decided it would be comforting to have some staples, which did end up feeling pretty reassuring. Now I can just sort of lounge around all day if I’m so inclined and won’t have to go out for a kebab at 11 or something horrible like that.
On Friday evening I went here, which is apparently the ground zero of the area’s gentrification process. Being Friday evening, it was completely packed. For a while the only available table was on the top of a garbage can. Afterwards, we went to the trendy bar associated with this restaurant, which was pretty good, although substantially understaffed. Ladies in Amsterdam seem more into animal prints than ladies in other cities.
Currently my most pressing problem is that I forgot to pack any nail clippers. Signing off to wipe the blood from writing this post off my keyboard.
Here is C looking extremely glamorous at Holocene.
Here are C and I posing for our the cover of our as-yet-unrecorded (or conceptualized or even discussed) album cover at Holocene.
Here I am on Hawthorne having purchased a festive little hat for sipping rose under when I jet off to France on Thursday. Let’s hope it isn’t stolen from me by a swarm of loathsome flies as the last hat I took to France was.
I know, right? So what has been happening? Well, as mentioned elsewhere, it was my birthday recently and C and I travelled to San Francisco to celebrate it. While the most obvious addition to my life upon returning to the Northwest was an infected cat bite, there have also been some subtler changes.
Living in Portland and spending time with C, who is an inveterate cocktailer has dulled my palate for wine considerably. For a long time I was more or less okay with this (note that this is at least in part because said palate is still remarkably sophisticated), but after dinner at Absinthe, I’m reversing my course on this one. Cocktails are fine, but I am totally over drinking them with dinner. That shit is for savages.
We also spent a fair amount of time at SFMOMA one day, and The Palace of the Legion of Honor the next. Portland has a very nice art museum, of course, but it doesn’t have a lot of the high-modern stuff, the supremacy (Suprematy?) of which, unlike wine, is something C and I agree about vehemently. It’s nice that I always end up at SFMOMA with artists.
On the plane home I finally finished Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and returned to The Line of Beauty, which I had laid aside while ago, having not found myself particularly engaged. I think that something about the trip put me in the mood for the high Hollinghurst style, and I have been enjoying it immensely. Now that Amis has retired to xenophobic avuncularity, it may be the case that Hollinghurst is England’s best practicing author. Obviously that’s not the best novel of the second half of the century of the novel, but it’s not nothing either.
The upshot of all of this is that I think it’s time for me to return to snobbery. I am planning on going out less but bringing much more decadent things into the house. Time to get my damn culture back.
When I left Hampshire and skittered off to London, I packed a bunch of things into boxes to ship to my mother. As is basically inevitable when one does anything besides languish in the bosom of one’s family immediately after college, I never saw most of the contents of those boxes ever again.
One of things things that went into those boxes was my copy of the James album Wah Wah. I was heavy into Pulp at the time (I had finished my div 3 with no coffee and very little booze by basically listening to This Is Hardcore 7 or 8 times per day), and I think that I may have considered James to not have enough “fourths and ninths,” my glib way to describe the haute-pop style of Jarvis and co. I didn’t want that kind of space-cadetery any more.
After periodically being made aware of the absence and deciding it would be too much of a pain to get in the cardboard packaging over the years, I finally got a new copy in the mail today. It’s pretty heady stuff. The kind of thing that you get from miles of tape and a deck of oblique strategies. Glad to have it back.
So if you care you probably already know that Kieron Gillen is killing Phonogram. Despite strong rec’s, I haven’t gotten around to reading any of it. That’s about to change, though, because I decided to read the linked farewell, and Gillen says:
We’ve — and these are ones I really treasure — made some people get what’s going on inside music obsessive’s heads, when they’ve previously never really got pop.
and I thought, “Wait, maybe I can remember how to be a pop obsessive.”
Because I used to be really pop-obsessive. I mean, if I like a song I can tell what elements of it are being underserved by a sound system, and the first thing I put on after reading this (not immediately, but definitely because of) was Circus Maximus, a record that is really, truly by and for obsessives (also: hilarious coincidence city, right?) Of course, it’s also really old. So old that it probably doesn’t even qualify as pop at all. Leaving aside questions about what’s the Momusian analogue to classic-rock status aside, I’m trying to figure out how I can become pop-obsessive again, because I think that I liked that about myself.
I think the MP3 revolution killed my obsession with pop music. I bought the very first iPod about a week after it came out, but by the time that one died they had become too ubiquitous for me to not turn up my nose about acquiring another. Nevertheless, I had moved to NYC and was a student at that point, and I succumbed to the urge to just put everything on my computer and have done with it. Maybe the thing to do now is to become some kind of beardy format-maniac. Obsession rewards masochism.