May 31, 2007

None of these quite made it as its own post.

  • Setting the scene: a few weeks ago I began reading Nineteen Eighty-Four, and soon after, I finished reading it. (I quite enjoyed it, incidentally, though at times it seemed distressingly prescient, as though some people had treated it as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary example.) I mentioned reading it to an acquaintance, and he recommended that I read Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London next, saying they were his favorite Orwell books.

    As it happens, last week I found myself unable to get Lodger‘s “I Love Death” out of my head. (This will become more important later on.)

    Also last week, I discovered that AFI Silver would be playing 七人の侍 (Seven Samurai), and the page about it also mentioned a film called Wild Strawberries, saying: “Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece is to cinema what Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past is to the novel: the definitive ‘memory piece’ of the art form.” This caught my eye, since memory is something I find fascinating, so I had it in the back of my mind as I made my way to go see Samurai.

    I was humming Lodger to myself the whole way to the movie theatre, and after buying my ticket I had some time to kill before the screening actually began, so I figured I’d go to the Borders around the corner on the off-chance they’d be carrying an album by a Finnish indie-rock band. And maybe while I was there, I’d be able to expand my Orwell collection. Once I entered the store, I strode purposefully towards the music section, confident that I wouldn’t find the album I was looking for, and already consoling myself with the knowledge that my taste in music was hip enough that a faceless conglomerate with a brick-and-mortar presence couldn’t possibly satisfy me. Alas, they had exactly what I wanted, and I had to settle for being thrilled with my purchase. I vaguely browsed the music section a bit more, hovering over a best-of Country Joe and the Fish compilation before deciding against it, when I started looking for Bobby Bare Jr. As it turned out, this time I did in fact stump the record store, but since they did have some Bobby Bare [Sr.], I picked up an album of his that had a particularly glowing cover blurb: “Good-time outlaw country — One of the greatest live recordings ever!”

    Music in hand, I made my way to the “Literature” section of the store, confident that a chain of bookstores that stocked eclectic Finnish CDs would have Orwell’s novels. They did have about eight copies each of 1984 and Animal Farm, but no Catalonia or Down and Out to be found, other than as excerpts in a compilation. Fuck that. Disappointed, I decided to look for that Proust memory thing I read about earlier. I found the Proust section quick enough (“Or” and “Pr” aren’t too far apart) and started looking at the spines of the books. I had a dim recollection of hearing about Proust as a writer of short stories, so I paid more attention to the slender books on the shelf and ignored the enormous tomes. After a fruitless search, I finally looked at the huge books in the Proust section and realized that this Remembrance thing was waaaay the fuck longer than I’d been expecting. Oh well, so it goes.

    There have been a lot of times when I’ve wondered about the threshold of incongruity required for a cashier to comment on a purchase. Apparently this time I crossed it, since as he rang everything up, the guy exclaimed, “Country music and Proust!?

  • This Tuesday I discovered that my login for the timekeeping/payroll system at work had been deactivated. My supervisor got it straightened out in a few minutes, but it was still mildly disconcerting.
  • I think I’ve crossed a Rubicon of sorts: I got a haircut today, without even being at the point where I’d been needing a haircut for weeks or months already.


  • Greg says:

    You got lucky. My favorite band not only cannot be found at Borders, but cannot be ordered from the United States. I have to mail gifts to friends in Finland or Estonia so that they can mail me new albums in exchange.

  • Märt says:

    I know your pain, and I know how lucky I was in this case. I’ve begged friends living in or visiting Estonia or Finland to get albums for me plenty of times, and one of the ulterior motives for my trip to Denmark this spring was so I could buy a bunch of Danish albums.

    That said though, have you looked at Stupido Shop? I’ve had some luck ordering Finnish albums from them as well.

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