EP: Mittageisen by Siouxsie and the Banshees
1979 Polydor 2059 151
Favorite Track: Mittageisen
I finished F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned while standing on my feet in my kitchen. I have a new habit of standing up while I read. But Fitzgerald saved some of his best writing for the last fifty pages, so I had to sit down and contemplate his second novel with methodical thought. There was a lot to digest and Fitzgerald’s ability to craft a story that has simultaneously a typical rising/falling story arc and a straight line story arc is impressive.
The Beautiful and Damned pales to the Great Gatsby because it is bloated, hesitating too long on meditations of love and marriage and not extending scenes concerning the Great War, the horrors of which were still fresh in the readers’ minds. But it is a very good second book. The writing is patchy and marred by the times in parts, but some of the most beautiful sentences struck me. I read them again before I even contemplated moving on or reading them a third time. He also managed to make me find compassion and sympathy for characters he created to be despised. Anthony’s alcoholism leaps off the page in ways only Under the Volcano seemed to have managed. Gloria’s tragic attempt at acting is superbly written: suspenseful, bold, every word forcing your eyes to speed along the page before your lungs have registered its next breath…
I will study it and hopefully re-create it here on my blog.
Now comes the hard choice: what to read next? I have 60 pages left in a sci-fi anthology that I plan on finishing today. I have American Gods to read for a book club, but I’ve read it before and tend to finish reading right before the meeting so it is fresh in my mind. The book club just discussed The Island of Dr. Moreau and that has me wanting to read The War of the Worlds, which was also in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and how have I not read that yet!? But League is also making me want to read Carnacki the Ghost-Finder and I’ve been wanting to read more classics than sci-fi this year so Absalom Absalom, Native Son, Devil in the Blue Dress, Journey to the End of the Night, and Les-Miserables are all fighting for my attention. Then I have a ton of weird fiction, Philip K Dick, Samuel R Delany, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Claire Castillon to read.
I love choices.
I saw Voivod at the Southgate House Revival church in Newport, KY. It was my first time there. Two things struck me immediately: I’ve read too many weird tales and any neighborhood church because the Esoteric Order of Dagon, and two, the metal was loud enough to be heard through the brick walls, but not quite to overpower the hootenanny playing over an outside speaker. Inside was a sea of black denim and cotton and hair and boots. On one side, a bar was set in front of a pipe organ. I suggested they should shoot foamy beer out of the pipes. The altar was turned into a small stage with banner draped over the second floor balcony where members of Vecktar looked down at the old crowd that my friend was destroying with his fierce pit instincts. I have heard about sound problems at Southgate House Revival and noted all the blue padding stuck to the walls and ceilings. This night, there was a constant hum coming through the speakers due to a loose cord or a blown-out amp. The problem muted the lead guitarist for a bit, but it was fixed and the show became much louder. This did not distract me from enjoying the concert. The lead guitarist was the happiest metal musician I have ever seen: a jolly shlock of blonde 80’s metal hair spinning around a convivial smile and beady eyes. They even played a merengue. In tribute to a dead bandmate, they played a Pink Floyd song. A beautiful night really.