Bass Tabs are the Communist Threat

Last night I was inspired to look up some Siouxsie bass tabs. This is what I got for my search:
Whats up fellow bass player? You're probably looking for the bass tablature of Siouxsie And The Banshees - Spellbound. We regret to inform you that this file, along with many other Siouxsie And The Banshees tabs have been removed due to legal pressure from the MPA. Good luck figuring this song out, we know you can do it!
We are providing an education service to the benifit [sic] of musicians everywhere, including the artists we feature on this site, but we lack the legal knowledge and resources to fight this in courts.
In the mean time [sic], if you want help learning the bass line of Spellbound, check out the Siouxsie And The Banshees sheet music selection at Sheet Music Plus

Ok, so music piracy on the internet is one thing, but these are tabs for cryin' out loud. They're one person's attempt to understand the song and share it with others, so bass newbs like me can having some sort of starting point. Oh I'm supposed to buy the sheet music, am I? Well let's toddle on over and attempt to do that. OH! You've never heard of Siouxsie And The Banshees? Quell surprise! Let me tell you something else: sheet music doesn't have bass tabs. It's usually arranged for piano and voice, possibly with guitar tabs. Yes, I could just play the bass clef part of the piano score, but it would be wrong, because that's not the bassline.
The argument, of course, could be made that I should just learn to play by ear, but I'm in the S.O.L. group that doesn't have an ear, yet. Hell, it's only been a couple months! Tabs are great because they give me a place to start, and help develop my ear. Why is the MPA so worried about that? Why does everything now come with a price tag? I have these dystopian visions of someone helping me figure out a song, and the MPA, or RIAA, or whomever, bursting into my apartment in full riot gear, waving sheet music about.

I finished Winterwood last week. It starts in an almost identical fashion to Sharp Objects, which I read earlier this year. Reporter is sent back to hometown where creepy goings on ensue. Fortunately, Winterwood is a far superior book. It's not that Sharp Objects was bad, but it was definitely reminiscent of V.C. Andrews work, before she became a registered trademark. That was great stuff when I was 14. Not so much now. Sharp Objects got mixed reviews, but I never did feel the high tension that the positive reviewers remarked on. I guessed parts of the ending, and I hate when I can do that. To say nothing of the tacked on love interest. I get the feeling it went like this:

Editor: "Hey there's no hetero sex in this book!"
Author: "Yeah it's not really about that, see it's about the reporter, who's a cutter, right? And..."
Editor: "We can't sell this without a manly man and some smoochy bits."
Author: "Uh, well see she doesn't really have relationships like that because..."
Editor: "I got it! He's a cop!"
Author: *sigh*

Possible that the author is fully to blame, but since she's an entertainment reporter, I'd like to think she'd avoid such a trap, if possible, in her own work.
In Winterwood you get this epic downward spiral of a man, who descends into madness, slowly but surely. You're taken through every signal, every sign, in lurid first person detail, and though you know this just can't end well, you want to know, need to know, how it all ends. Just how mad can madness get? What's weird is I guessed parts of this ending too, but because Winterwood isn't set up like a genre mystery-thriller, that wasn't a Bad Thing.
Funnily enough, I'd seen Patrick McCabe read at the International Festival of Authors last year, and hadn't made the connection at all, 'till I got to the part I'd heard before.

"You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make [him] think"

Whatever you think of Yann Martel's plan to send the PM a book every other week, I think you'll agree that the most hilarious commentary on it is/will be from Nathan Whitlock. Being the cynic I am, I doubt Harper will even check out the covers, but I'm sure some of his staff with be happy with the free stuff.

Surprise, surprise, the book I'm currently slogging through, Arlington Park, made the Orange Prize shortlist. I gotta say, I'm a bit surprised. Especially given that the chairman of the judges (how ironic, you think they'd have called her the "chairperson"), Muriel Gray, wrote this back in March:
As a judge in this year's Orange prize, it's hard to ignore the sheer volume of thinly disguised autobiographical writing from women on small-scale domestic themes such as motherhood, boyfriend troubles and tiny family dramas. These writers appear to have forgotten the fundamental imperative of fiction writing. It's called making stuff up*.
I kind of love books like Arlington Park, if only because they prop up my child-free self, brush off my divorced-girl ego, and say "Hey look, you're not doing so bad. See what you could have wound up with?" It's a nice little fantasy, but knowing as many mamas as I do, I know the reality isn't as constantly grey as the author, Rachel Cusk, paints it. It's a roller-coaster, yes, but people with families are sometimes -- *gasp* -- happy. Then again, Cusk writes in, and about, England. It rains almost constantly in Arlington Park (not subtle!), and that can't be good for anyone's mood. Hell, this is the first sunny day we've had here in Toronto in what feels like weeks, and it's going a long way to elevate my mood.

*Full article, titled "Women authors must drop domestic themes" is here.

Rainy day music recomendations, and the wonders of surya namaskar

I've been a fan of Red House Painters for an awfully long time. Last year, I saw Mark Kozelek do an amazing set at Lee's Palace, where he also played some selections from his Sun Kil Moon project. Little Drummer Boy records that tour, including some of the Lee's Palace set. What I found so amazing about that show, is the absolute hush that came over the crowd as Kozelek played. No one sang along, no one talked to their buddies. Everyone simply stood in rapt, respectful awe. A couple acoustic guitars have never been so lush, and so melancholy (and considering all the sensitive types that play acoustic, that's saying something).

I have no idea how well Thom Yorke's solo album Eraser sold. I'd like to think that all the crazy Radiohead types went and snapped it right up. Eraser has got a bit of sound in common with 2003's Hail to the Thief, but it's most definitely not a Radiohead record. Doesn't much matter though; I'd pay to listen to Thom yowl the phone book.

There's a lovely little shoegazer station on called Vertigo. A little jangly, a lot dreary. Suits the rain, and it suits my mood.

On Saturday night I came up with a surefire cure for hiccoughs*: sun salutations! I only had to do one, with the proper breathing technique (five breaths in the downward dog, if you please), and I was cured.

*Yes, you really can spell it that way.

I'm not a book reviewer; I just reads 'em.

Johnathan Lethem's latest, You Don't Love Me Yet, is the best thing I've read so far this year. The Times gave it a so-so review, but I'm a bit more enthusiastic (obviously). Lethem's debut, Motherless Brooklyn was widely praised, but I was a bit bored of the whole concept by page 50. You Don't Love Me grabs from the beginning and races you to the end. It took me all of three days to finish; a nice change of pace since I'd been plodding through Quicksilver for most of the last month. The characters in You Don't Love Me are quirky, yes, but not annoyingly so. Nothing seems forced, and everything just flows. Finally, I see the talent that everyone's been saying he has. Granted, I didn't read Fortress of Solitude, but I'm certainly more disposed to doing so now!

Next up, I'm reading Arlington Park. Again, something I decided to read based on a review. I just looked at the review again, and I'm thinking I must have been in one of my "yeah, marriage sucks, men suck, relationships suck" moods when I placed my reserve with the library. I would not be reading this book in this mood, given the info The Times provides. The writing itself, a chapter in, is quite good. Reminiscent of Margaret Drabble. What I can't get over, is the ridiculously precious cover.

Uh, if this is a "marriage sucks, men suck, relationships suck" kinda book, what's with the Ode to Maeve Binchy here? The font, both on the cover and dustjacket can only be described as "twee." Did the designer know anything about the subject matter? I can only assume not.

I had to give one of the writers on Bookninja a little smackdown today. I've seen this "Oh booksellers don't know anything about books" attitude far too often. Trust me, I don't let it slide, ever, when I see it. You can read the post, and my comments here.

If you're into D.H. Lawrence, and more specifically The Rainbow and Women in Love, you might want to check out this article about Katherine Mansfield who was, apparently, the inspiration for Gudrun.