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September 13th, 2005

Since Thursday I've been listening to the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album Howl.

They've changed their sound on this, their third full length feature, dropping into a lot of acoustic and harmonica sounds to bring out a hybrid of country, blues influenced rock with a bit of gospel. The spectre of Jesus has always hung in the background of the band on their previous two albums, but it finally feels more in place here in an album that feels as if it belongs being spun in the empty, dusty plains of the American West. In case you're wondering, the Jesus influence doesn't make the album religious, just as it didn't make their previous albums such. From the opening chorus-cry of the lyrics "time won't save our souls" in the opening track 'Shuffle Your Feet' the band kicks and stomps and claps its way through the album, stripped back and fuzzy and yet, somehow, more compelling and interesting that before. And that harmonica is just fantastic to hear.

It's a shame they called the album Howl. The Ginsberg reference feels misplaced and unnecessary, at least to me. Or maybe I'm just naturally jaded of anything that references Ginsberg's poem.

Also, I'd like to direct you to Jeff Ford's (14theditch) review of Anna Tambour's Spotted Lily, which he calls, "simply put, a Faust story, although there is nothing simple about it. Whereas there is usually a message of conventional morality at the heart of most “deal with the devil” tales, the heart of this fiction is a complex and twisted thing. It is not so easy here to determine who the agent of evil is and who the representative of humanity or if there is any difference between the two. This is a Faust story that hearkens back to the original legend, a pre-Goethe tale, where the salvation of the soul may be the main issue for the reader but not the characters."

Ford, apart from being a fine writer in his own right, has a huge brain for literature. Reading his thoughts makes you feel as if you haven't read enough. And though I haven't read Spotted Lily, Anna is a real fine person, and you should all make her rich like a two eyed pirate.

Lastly, assignments for the experimental writing course came in today. First haul for the semester.

Haven't read them, but on a quick glance through, I found cigarettes, a zine, psychiatric profile, lime green box, a strange, old folder, diary, and a personality detector built out of a cane wicker basket. This course is joy.

Buy A Friend A Book Week


Go here for more details.

And for no particular reason at all, I'm going to do this. Sure, part of me recognises the contradiction in buying someone a book for no good reason in the week where people say you should buy a book for no good reason, but so what? I have friends. Some of them can even read. Pornography, mostly, but it's still reading. And because I'm going to do it, I think you all should do it, too. So: spread it round. Buy someone a book. Preferably one they'll like.