lundi, novembre 21, 2005

Maybe All I Need Is a Shot in the Arm

[Closed Circuit to Jo who lives in a particular small town in Minnesota: it was good to see you last night – did you like my chili? Cooking for one’s mother-in-law (especially when she’s a good cook)…it can make one nervous, no?]

The Morning

Among the things said by my daughter, TinyE, on the way to school this morning (all at the highest possible volume):

“I hate you Daddy; I hate you so much.”

“But I’m not brave, I’m scared.”

“I don’t want to go to the hospital. Lots of people go to the hospital. I don’t want to go.”

“I don’t want a shot, and I don’t want them to prick my finger either.”

Palliative measures were employed. Soothing words were offered. No solace was taken. All of this for a flu shot.

When I got my flu shot a few weeks ago, the needle was so sharp I barely felt it (but yes, I'm 33 years older than she is).

It’s one of those classic moments when the suffering attendant to the anticipation/dread of a thing far exceeds the suffering occasioned by the thing itself.

I know this much is true: next year, I will employ all means at my disposal – both fair and unfair, not to grab flu shot duty (marriage is about give and take and compromise and more kind exchanges than unkind, but there is also this competitive part of it, and (embracing that competition) I will not hold the flu shot potato next year, watch). Second, if I do not succeed, I will not tell her in advance of the shot (as was suggested) where we are going and why. This approach was suggested to us. I think it works for most kids, but for TinyE, it really made a small trauma into a very large one. The poor dear…

A Recommendation

This CD is pretty, pretty, pretty good. It will appear in my top five this year (barring some amazing purchases in the coming weeks – and Duf ain’t exactly flush right now). In my experience, live albums (and concerts) take one of four paths: they duplicate the studio sound, they expand it, they simplify it, or they depart from it. Of the four, the only one that rarely works is the duplication path. As many observers of art know, a reduction can be an expansion – simplifying a thing can make it more complex, richer.

Anyway, no songs are duplications of the studio works, a few songs (like “Misunderstood”) are an expansion, many are simplified (“Poor Places” would be hard to replicate in a live show). There are no departures. Overall, I see this live album as a musical simplification, but as an emotional expansion. Wilco is very much a live band (even though their studio work is amazing), and front man Jeff Tweedy was going through rehab and singing in front of a home crowd. You could tell in the way the show built upon itself leaving a grand (if underappreciated) creation, you could tell when the crowd sang with him “maybe all I need is a shot in the arm,” which now has a cautionary quality it never really had before (the crowd’s joyous accompaniment felt misplaced to me) and you could tell in the quiet times of the album, when more than power, he needed to rely on feeling.

And he did too. He did.