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The Sound of Building Coffins March 3, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, books, Jazz, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, voodoo.
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sobc_coverI don’t typically do What I’m Reading posts but I’m going to make an exception, maybe start a trend since my mind seems empty of good words of my own of late. I am about 2/3 of the way through Louis Maistros’ novel The Sound of Building Coffins and the reviews it has garnered so far (ex. “No novel since Confederacy of Dunces has done such justice to New Orleans”) are dead on.

Louis will be reading from his book and signing copies at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Street, this Thursday March 5 at 6 p.m..

This lyrical tale of magic and transformation at the end of the Creole era and the start of the Jazz age weaves voodoo, jazz and race into a tapestry that captures the subtle pattern of New Orleans. This is bound to become (as the review quoted above suggests) one of the landmark evocations of the city. I normally wouldn’t write something like this until finishing the book* but I wanted to call out Louis’ reading and signing. Unless he’s been abducted by aliens and the publisher had a roomful of meth-fueled monkeys finish the book, I expect the last hundred pages to be as spellbinding as the first 250.

(The next day) Word.

* Confession: I once wrote a review of The Great Deluge on Amazon after reading the introduction and first chapter, confessing it was such a painfully bad work of history and writing I would only be able to finish it as a matter of obligation. (I never did.) If you transpose Lake Borgne and Bay St. Louis in the introduction to a work of history about Hurricane Katrina, you’ve clearly run off the tracks.

Be He Ploughman or Painter February 27, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Facebook, meme, music, Toulouse Street.
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So I stumbled into one of those blogger “memes”, this one on Facebook, where you use random Wikipedia and Flikr searches to create a virtual band. It goes like this:

1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use Photoshop (or similar) to put it all together.

And so I ended up with a band called Fairborne Ohio, with their debut record Be He Ploughman or Painter. I seem to have transposed the quote by George Bernard Shaw, but I think the sense of it survives..


Looking at the picture, I couldn’t help but think that this would be some sort of dark, folkie music. So I took the meme one step further and went to YouTube and the first likely looking track to come up under “dark folk” turned out to be by New Orleans’ own author, musician (and fellow Humid City blogger) Louis Maistros. It seems to me it could have come from this mythical album, so here it is.

The fact that you are out here reading this gives me some comfort that I haven’t squandered an entire hour of my life in pointless frittery.