Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hungarian novel, French Suites (German composer)

I feel sooooo international today. Did indeed read Metropole en route to Sarasota. It's a clever book, and might make a better movie, but the perfection of the lost linguist's plight is a bit stifling after a while -- even after he supposedly has picked up some phrases, he can't seem to use them. The sequence where he's joined the (revolution? carnival of violence?) had its longeurs that film might've avoided while preserving the irony of laying his life on the line for a cause he understands absolutely nothing about. But it must've been fairly compelling, since I finished it before landing in Tampa. Have now moved to backup reading (A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, and if that gets too serious, Matter by Iain M. Banks -- one of his charming "Culture" novels. Liberals ... iiinnn ... SPAAAAACCCE ....).

Tampa of course is where Southwest puts you if you're trying to get to Sarasota, and to my surprise, the "economy" car I rented had a CD player -- I was expected more of an enclosed golf cart. Surprise alas meant I had no CD's, and after an hour and a half of listening to Tampa's radio offerings, I was ready to find the local music vendor and get SOMETHING.

Lately, I begin by looking for Manfred Mann, because I want their cover of "The Mighty Quinn" (not to be confused with whatever the hell that is by Manfred Mann's Earth Band). Didn't find that of course. Then Blossom Dearie or Anita O'Day, who fell through the cracks of the limited jazz selections available -- reverse discrimination, I darkly (?) pondered. On to the classical section, where of late I had formulated the desire for "Bach piano music other than the Goldberg Variations." With some hesitation, because this is the kind of thing where I need Jim at my side (or in easy cell-phone range), I picked up Glenn Gould's recording of Bach's French Suites, because (1) even if "bad Gould" they would probably be adequate for my limited sensibility, and more importantly (2) the disc was only $12. Can't tell you much about it so far, but it sounds fine to me, and it's not Christian rock, Chicago, country, or anything else I heard on the way to Sarasota, so that's 4 stars out of 5 right there.

Deposition allowing, my other big plans for Sarasota are to find the beach and get some sand between my toes, and to check out A. Parker's Books, which looked attractive on the web even before I saw they're owned by the same folks who own the excellent Crescent City Books in NOLA. Like a little bit of home (broadly construed) waiting here for me.

UPDATE - I had no idea how appropriate my purchase was:
Gould was averse to cold and wore heavy clothing, including gloves, even in warm places. He was once arrested, presumably mistaken for a vagrant, while sitting on a park bench in Sarasota, Florida, dressed in his standard all-climate attire of coat(s), warm hat and mittens.
I wonder if the bench is still there?

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