A few years ago, in a box of keepsakes, I found a journal that I kept for one week in January of 2001. It was 8 single-spaced typed pages - a meticulous record of everything I ate, read, watched, and listened to; everyone I saw; everywhere I went and everything I did. I wanted to illustrate it, so I asked an editor I like if she would publish it and she said yes.
I started working on this book in earnest recently. I’m not inclined to share much about it, but I will say, it’s been a little sad. I may have been listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and crying while I painted this picture of a dude wrestling me on a futon.
I miss this old life, free of responsibilities and iPhones and populated by people I mostly lost track of decades ago. I don’t want to go back in time - to re-live this era of my life that was hard in a lot of ways. But the longing I feel while I illustrate this journal is acute. I’m nostalgic.
In the course of my book research, I rewatched the 1935 soviet slapstick Happiness by Aleksandr Medvedkin. It’s a silent film and it figures into this journal because Colin was writing a song for a scene in it at the time. He was going to perform it at some show where Portland bands played music they wrote to accompany silent movies, which was exactly the sort of thing we were up to in 2001.
The entire movie is on YouTube and I was going to just skip through it until I found the scene that Colin wrote a song for. But I ended up watching the whole thing in front of my computer with my cat on my lap, pausing frequently to take screenshots because it was so beautiful and fascinating.
I don’t know much about soviet cinema. I do know that the 1930s were an era of notorious censorship and propagandism in soviet art. I had that in mind watching this film that seemed totally unbridled in its weirdness, and didn’t really know how to make sense of it.
I Remember Painfully
Naturally I’m revisiting my favorite music of 2001 - both the music of that year and the older music that I discovered then and became obsessed with. My sweet husband, always glad for an excuse to make a playlist, made me one. I then took my favorite songs from his playlist and made my own. I keep adding to it and moving things around, but here it is at the moment:
CARSON’S 2001 PLAYLIST
1. Metal Heart: Cat Power
2. Song Against Sex: Neutral Milk Hotel
3. Katie Cruel: Karen Dalton
4. I’m Straight: The Modern Lovers
5. Mrs. William: Bonnie “Prince” Billy
6. Last Nite: The Strokes
7. I Remember Painfully: Daniel Johnston
8. The Boy With The Arab Strap: Belle and Sebastian
9. Desire: Richard Buckner
10. Boys from the County Hell: The Pogues
11. Tally Ho: The Clean
12. Moonshiner: Bob Dylan
13. The Wagoner’s Lad: The Kossoy Sisters
14. Exit Music (For a Film): Radiohead
15. New Slang: The Shins
If you click on that link above you should be able to listen to this, though you’ll need an iTunes account. AmyV also made a Spotify version. Thanks, AmyV!
If you need me I’ll be in my studio, looking through old photos and listening to Cat Power.
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Be True 'Cause They'll Lock You Up in a Sad, Sad Zoo