Everything Harry Styles Does:
So, unless you live under a rock — and I take umbrage with that saying. What on Earth does that mean? Who would live under a rock aside from worms and ants and insects? For a long time I thought it was a slur against Neolithic people, but I realize that this can’t possibly be true. Why is that even an expression? Hold on, my etymological fever is taking over. Bear with…y’all, I was almost exactly correct! Hooray. Anyway, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Harry Styles has been up to things. Devious things that are intended to keep me from a peaceful night’s sleep. He’s been in Cancun wearing plenty of sequins. He’s been photographed. He’s been sending messages on Twitter with incomprehensible meanings. The fans are buzzing about music being released. He was on the cover of Rolling Stones again looking like an absolute snack. It’s been too much for me, but I shan’t regale you with this old story again. What I’m going to talk to you is Harry’s new song, “Lights Up.” It’s a bop that refuses to stop. It’s the song of the year. It’s the song of the century. I can’t stop listening to it and rejoicing that Harry finally took my advice. Instead of twangy hipster nonsense, this is finally a pop song with all my favorite aspects of pop. There’s voice distortion, lyrics that don’t make a BIT of sense, electronic drums, and a chorus that you can follow after one listen. It’s great. And then the music video is an…well, I suppose the only thing I can call it is an EXPERIENCE. Watch and come to your own conclusions.
And now, I have to live for another month knowing that his second album is on the way. December 13 will be a blessed and miraculous day where I’ll lay in bed with my new AirPods Pro and listen to Harry’s new oeuvre on repeat. It’s going to be glorious. And look at the cover.
What does it mean? What does it all mean? Are we in a circus? Is the fishbowl lens filter supposed to be a message about living in the media? Or is he just simply a circus entertainer in his high-waisted paints? Why is there a black gloved hand reaching for him? Is that supposed to represent me? I don’t know. What’s the fine line? I don’t know. I don’t know anything and it’s making me crazy. This album needs to come out NOW before I lose what little I have left of my mind. [You guys…he’s going to Turin….oh my godddddddd…]
Upstairs At Eric’s by Yaz:
My favorite British comedians are Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. In the 80s, they started a sketch comedy show at the BBC called French & Saunders and it has impacted my life in ways that I haven’t begun to process. A lot of my sense of humor comes from their jokes, their characters, and a lot of my own culture comes from the guests and singers that appeared on the show. When the BBC finally released DVDs of the entire series several years ago, I was delighted to finally see the episodes in their entirety. Before then, the sketches were just thrown together on compilation videos and none of the interplay between skits was known to me. I was thrilled to hear the singers and see the original order. And that day, reader, began a love affair with Alison Moyet. I found her husky voice captivating, I loved the synthesized sound, I was obsessed with her hair. And then I promptly forgot all about Alison Moyet. My love for her work was restored in a very unexpected way. Picture it. There I was in the Museum of Torture in Mexico City. In the background, for reasons that I can’t understand but don’t really want to understand, there was a soundtrack playing of Gregorian monks covering standard pop classics. It was absolutely bizarre and I couldn’t get over it. The song that I finally realized they were playing was “Only You,” which I knew was performed originally by my beloved Alison Moyet.
Later that night, back in the apartment, I hunted the song down done by the Gregorian monks and then came across the original album that the song was from, Upstairs at Eric’s by Yaz. I downloaded it as fast as I could and I have found myself listening to it regularly. Well, I find myself listening to it religiously now. The album is bizarre and made up of nothing but bops and I can’t say enough good things about an album that was already old when I was born. Let’s listen to some of the best now and then move on…don’t bring me down…don’t make a sound just move on…see what I did there? No? Well, listen up, reader:
I have been overcome, reader, by the most expensive passion I’ve yet developed. The price, admittedly, was unexpected and unplanned for, but it is giving meaning to my life. You have surely read that my father passed away earlier this autumn and I suddenly have possession of the family farmhouse, a structure that has weathered countless storms and innumerable generations of my predecessors. It’s a bit odd to think of it as mine and mine alone, but I’m quickly getting used to the idea and putting my mark on it. Generations before me have done endlessly stupid things that I’ll never understand. They put up the most hideous wallpaper. They chose the most hideous paint colors. They removed decorative moulding for the sake of modernity. They bought the cheapest windows possible. Instead of maintaining hardwood floors, they slapped down carpet. The wiring is shit. The plumbing is antiquated. The exterior itself is covered top to bottom in asbestos. Where there were doors to a patio, a cheap window was hung. It’s absurd to me that the place is still standing after all these years, but I’m not going to let it crumble to pieces on my watch. I didn’t have that mindset to begin with, but I’ve come around to that way of thinking. There’s no reason not to help the old thing out, it’s never really done me wrong. So I’m updating room by room. My kitchen has a new floor and new appliances coming. I have smart lights everywhere. There are smart assistants in all the places needed. And right now I’m accumulating pieces for the redesign of my living room. I’ve been enthralled with the hunt for finding the perfect pieces and snatching them up. I wonder if this is how trophy hunters feel on a safari? I hope they feel nothing but crushing moral anguish, but I doubt that’s the case. I am overwhelmed with delight every time I find something that fits perfectly into my vision. I’ve now bought the perfect rug, which is a gorgeous teal with a cartoon leopard woven into it. I’ve selected my couch and chairs. I commissioned a recreation of my favorite painting in the Louvre, David with the Head of Goliath by Guido Remi. I’m going to use drywall to restore a crumbling wall and insert an electric fireplace — something that I’ve dreamed of for as long as I’ve had dreams. And I know where to go to pick up the coffee table and side tables and I’m even starting to think about which lamps I need and what other pieces of decoration I need to pick up. This has been a wonderful time, y’all. I might need to switch careers.
Daylight Savings Time:
I understand the historic reasons for Daylight Savings Time. It makes sense for an era of expensive electricity and a culture shaped by factories. Today, we are quite different. Light bulbs don’t take tremendous amounts of energy to work and not so many of us get our wages from toiling at a factory for a robber baron. Times change, after all, but the time itself doesn’t have to change anymore. (Oh goodness, I’m very proud of that turn of phrase.) I don’t mind waking up with the sun, it’s quite helpful, but I hate it at the expense of my afternoon sunshine. There is barely enough light to begin to do anything as it is in the winter, taking an hour away doesn’t help anything. Instead of having a relaxing evening, it suddenly feels like you’re floating on the International Space Station at midnight but it’s like 5:30 and dinner is still hours away. It messes my mind up, reader, and I cannot stand it. I don’t like feeling like my body is in a constant state of catching up. I don’t like anything at all about it. Well, I take that back, there is one good thing, all of my clocks are now connected to my Amazon Echo Dots and so instead of having to change the time manually, they just take care of themselves. It’s the height of inconvenient elegance. I’d still rather do without it though, and that’s all I’ve got to say on the matter.
I probably shouldn’t be as irked as I am, but I hate how secure and safe the deliveries are from FedEx. I much prefer my handsome UPS driver that waves at my video doorbell and pets my cats before he drops my multiple Amazon Prime deliveries off and heads out. We’ve been through a lot together, my UPS guy and me. Whenever I get something from FedEx, though, there is inevitably some kind of hiccup or irritation. For some reason, they refuse to leave my packages for me when I’m not at home and they rarely — if ever — tell me that I need to have my delivery signed for. And when they drop my shit off at noon on a weekday, do they really expect me to be home? Most of us are at work, you know? At least once in a while! I’ve been annoyed about this for years because once they attempted to make a delivery and instead of leaving the usual post-it style notification, they slapped it on with what I firmly believe is spray adhesive or some prototype from 3M. There is still residue on my door, y’all. It’s unacceptable. I’m wary of getting the new door I’m eyeing because I don’t want a repeat of that nonsense. I say all of this to say to you that I’m worried. I had a delivery from FedEx this afternoon and I was, of course, working, and I was not, of course, notified that the package would need a signature. So I don’t know what to expect on my door when I get home late tonight. I have conferences with my students until 8:30 and won’t be home until 9:00 at the earliest. That horrible little note might well be stuck on with concrete this time. They’re passive aggressive, I tell you. I won’t be home tomorrow at delivery time, either, so I requested they deliver it to a location where I’m working. We’ll see what bullshit that causes. I also have another delivery unfortunately coming from FedEx tomorrow and the app won’t give me the option to choose to sign for it in advance or send it to an alternate drop off. So pray. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.