Music. The artifact.

One day I was in the garage (okay, the Jack Russell was peeing in the house, on the not-exactly-cheap Persian carpet, and I was digging out the cage in order to retrain him that you pee on the old Washington Post, not the carpet), and there, in front of the cage/box/whatever you call the thing, was a stack of boxes of vinyl. I had read or heard on the radio something about kids-these-days thinking that music was free, and I saw all of that old vinyl, and I got to thinking about the artifact.

People talk about electronic books vs. real books and I got to thinking about MP3 music vs. real music. Back in the olden days of record store/head shops, when it cost about $3.99 to buy an album and about $0.51 more to buy a concert ticket, I remember the whole sort of fetishistic thing of the record album. Lying on the floor in a daze and poring over the album cover for clues as to the genius of, say, Frank Zappa. Continue reading

Oscar Wao. Wow.

It’s hard to do anything but admire Junot Diaz’s prose, his incredibly facile use of language. That was the case with Drown, and it is certainly the case with his brief, wondrous novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I’m not entirely certain that the book holds up entirely as a novel—in some cases, it seems a bit more like interconnected short stories—but I’d rather read a flawed Diaz novel any day than a totally coherent (in the old, sticks-together sense of the word, not the makes-sense sense). Continue reading