So... long time, no blog. Perhaps it seems like an easy out, but I blame the one year old. At some point over the last several weeks, she must have crossed some invisible threshold of development which ultimately manifests in me having no time for anything that's not dad-related. Even her daily naptime—previously branded as my chance to blog, further develop my cockeyed business proposal, or even bang out the occasional cover letter/résumé—has lately morphed into my sole opportunity to clean the house, plot out dinner, or make up for the increasing difficulty in getting a full night's sleep of my own.
Anyway, don't read that as a complaint. The Kid is awesome, and short of pulling in a paycheck for it, I really couldn't be happier with the current routine.
Having recently realized that I helmed only a paltry FOUR fill-in shows on WFMU in 2010, I'm happy that there has been so much radio in my life lately. Aside from some perfunctory engineering work during the WNYC and WQXR membership drives, I've also had the opportunity to spend some quality time with two old broadcasting confidantes from my old digs at Princeton's WPRB. And of course, there was the WFMU Marathon which had the best vibe of any since 2007, at least. Congrats to all my pals there for a great job. It remains an honor to occasionally walk in your company, especially as such newsfeed-grabbing calamities as the KUSF debacle unfold with painful reckoning for anyone who appreciates independent broadcasting.
Being part of the WFMU Marathon is an exhausting practice, and I'll freely admit that this was the first one in a decade that I felt somewhat disconnected from. Of course, this is more my own fault than anyone else's, what with my frustratingly uncooperative and financially restrictive schedule preventing me from being as involved as I'd like to be. But on the upside, the 'thon was a great opportunity to catch up with a few old friends, and feel once again like I'm surrounded by My People. Re-visiting an organization that routinely displays its passion for creativity and which (usually) puts its best foot forward can be a little jarring, especially having focused my attentions on more traditional non-profs over the last few years, where said passions are frequently muted by bureaucracy or simple indifference. In other words, it felt great to be reminded of the possibilities.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, activity has been stunted, but not abandoned. Once again I must cite the demands of caring for The Kid as the primary reason for backing away from the adventurous end of the home cooking scene. She just demands so much attention now, and dinnertime has taken a turn towards a correspondingly more traditional standard. Which isn't to say I'm not enormously proud of having recently whipped up homemade fish paste, Middle Eastern meatballs, or miso marinated flank steak with mirin roasted carrots. (All delicious!) My wife and I are also totally floored to have so effortlessly ditched The Kid's regimen of jarred baby food in favor of pint-sized portions of whatever we happen to be eating (including all of the above mentioned dishes.) Expanding The Kid's palate early on was an important goal for us right out of the gate, and I'm thrilled that she's taken so eagerly to everything from grilled fish and paella, to hummus, balsamic reductions, and pretty much everything else we've plopped down for her to snatch up hungrily. Defying the bland diets we were raised on feels like a healthy and responsible move on our part as parents, not to mention a refreshing break from past traditions that only served us poorly later in our own lives. (I didn't try sushi until I was in my mid-20s, avocado not until several years after that. She's already had both.)
And then of course, there's music—always lurking in the background, like a vengeful aristocrat in a Francisco de Goya painting. Having such limited access to FMU over the past year, my awareness of new stuff has taken an unfortunate nosedive, but it is just such instances which I believe validates ownership of a large and cumbersome record collection. When times are tight, you can always get lost in your own private stash and (re)discover something for jaded ears. After finally accepting that the Audio Technica ATPL-120 turntable I bought several years ago is a fucking LEMON that can not be coaxed away from its predilection for dropped channels and omnipresent hum, I've learned to tolerate the surface-to-noise reality and have lately been cranking older vinyl sides by Konono No. 1, Jesu, and the Fastbacks. Also getting lots of attention these days is the perhaps misleadingly titled Skinhead Revolt comp of early ska and rocksteady, which is just back-to-front brilliant. In stumbling around my own archives, I've also earmarked some releases to be hawked on eBay or Discogs whenever the economy eventually rights itself. Of all the possible futures I can envision for my family and I, none of them involve me owning 80s/90s hardcore records by Stars & Stripes, Moss Icon, or Crucial Youth. If some 22 year old with rich parents wants to elevate his social standing among his peers and simultaneously pay me handsomely for the records that will do it for him, I've got no problem with it. Which, in itself, is a relatively new phenomenon for me—When I was younger and more puritanical about art and commerce, I frequently balked at the idea of selling such releases for large sums of money, often opting to give records that are probably worth a mint now to friends, if not lazily discarding them by some similar means. Many years from now, I expect images of Rough Trade picture sleeves and obscenely rare garage rock 45s will come back to haunt me while trying to explain to The Teenager why mommy and daddy can only pay for the first three semesters of college.
Had enough of me yet? Well, in the interest of closing the circuit of recent activities (and perhaps tantalizing you with my long dormant talents as a karaoke singer), here's an MP3 of me singing with WFMU's Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia, live at Maxwell's on the last night of the Marathon. The song is "Helicopter Spies", originally by Swell Maps. Although my performance certainly pales in comparison to the original, it is no small accident that I'm posting it almost five years to the day since Nikki Sudden passed away unexpectedly in New York. Intro and vamping by MC Joe Belock. Matt Fiveash on bass, Evan "Funk" Davies behind the drum kit, and the low-slung, six-string talents of Scott Williams, Brian Turner, and Jason Sigal.
"Play it like Slade, Evan!"