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Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Across 110th St."

Bobby Womack (Across 110th St. [Soundtrack], 1972)

I've never seen the movie, but the song is a classic. Someone recently suggested that I consider Harlem, which she says is gentrifying. I'll be sticking with Brooklyn (my job's over there anyway), but am curious whether she's right.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Empire State of Mind (Part 2) Broken Down"

I had never heard this version until my brother played it for me, the night I got the job offer in Brooklyn. Out of the set, I'd say Alicia Keys' lyrics are the weakest, but the hook is still catchy, and I do love a slightly melancholy piano.

Alicia Keys, The Element of Freedom (2009)

For some reason, it reminds of of an old-fashioned TV show theme. I mean that in a good way.

"Empire State of Mind"

I knew what the follow-up would be, right? I tried to resist this song when it came out. I failed.

Jay-Z, ft. Alicia Keys The Blueprint 3 (2009)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New York state of mind

Billy Joel, live at the BBC, 1978. Fun fact: this song was released into the world just a few months before I was.

So, what are your favorite songs about New York? Not sure yet if I'll be flying or driving, but a playlist seems in order.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crosspost: Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

My instinct was to write this review longhand, which probably won't mean much to you (except that I am old), but says something to me about the emotional space I was in after finishing the book. I took out my boarding pass, thinking I'd write on the back, not wanting to put it into my just-started professional notebook (it's teal, and has a fabric placeholder, and only has writing on one page -- a to-do list, most of which remains to be done). That was my instinct but, as it turned out, I'd left my pen in my backpack, which was safely stowed in the overhead compartment, and which I did not feel like retrieving just to get a pen. So, I "wrote" on my phone, in an app designed to look like a pad of yellow paper. I like the lines, but I miss the feeling of pen, and the imaginary lines on the imaginary page made me think of Lettie Hempstock saying that nothing is really what it looks like on the outside. 
I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane in less than the time it takes to fly from New Orleans to New York. I started during takeoff and when I finished, and checked the map, it told me that we were somewhere over North Carolina. It was a quick read, and the story is fairly simple: a man returns to a place he once called home and he remembers a time when he was a boy, when he met a girl and lost his heart. But it's better than that, and not quite like that at all. It was, as the best books are, full of more than you think will possibly fit in its pages. It was A Story, in the way Isak Dinesen might have meant -- bigger and more true than you'd imagined at the start. It was not unlike Lettie Hempstock's ocean, even knowing that it really was an ocean. 
And now I'm not sure what to say about it, though I felt, immediately, like I wanted to say something. Hm. That seems like a problem for a book review. So, here's what I think you need to know to understand what I thought of the book, which is really the point of a review: I mostly didn't think about it and I consider that a good thing...