Tuesday, July 25, 2006


There was a technician named Urban,
Who had an affair with a turbine.
“It’s much nicer” he said,
“Than a woman in bed,
And it’s sure as hell cheaper than bourbon!”

-Gravity’s Rainbow, pg. 312

No one reads books, let alone novels. Even someone mentioning that he or she took a look at Moneyball on the can makes me want to wail on the guitar and kick my dog in the face. I do know a couple people who like poetry, but I think this is because they have no legs. Philistinism is something I accept; indeed, I would buy into it if I didn’t have transparent skin that leaves my vital organs vulnerable to sun or allergies to playing Frisbee and soap. It’s always been like this. You think people in the 30s read Faulkner? No chance. The Sound and The Fury starts out with a retard who literally doesn’t understand the concept of time and rambles for 60 pages about how his sister smells like trees. It's not as though 80 years ago, normal people had the magical ability to get past this stuff.

So no one will give seven shits that my man TP, the most undeniable living literary talent, just announced that his new joint, Against the Day is droppin in December (Rick Ross actually posted an even more pants-creaming post on his MySpace blog, so that’s cool). But fuck it, you watch when Oprah picks this shit up and it teaches everyone in the world how to be themselves.

It’s a beast, weighing in at 900+ pages, so it should be useful when you’re attacked by roving gangs of violent William Gaddis devotees packin silly string and Zippos.

Here's his description of the book written by TP himself:

"Spanning the period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.

Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck."

There’s a year of my life down the drain. If you hang out with me from Dec. 06 –Dec. 07, be prepared for drunken yelling about this book. In the meantime:

Download – Nirfuckingvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Demo)

Pynchonians (read: the most raging paste-eaters you can possibly imagine, which of course includes yours truly; but I also like rap, so I’m tempered a bit) think that Kurt Cobain read Gravity’s Rainbow and based his little ditty on a song one of 3489 characters in the book breaks into randomly, on page 547 (Penguin “Great Books of the 20th Century Edition). The lyrics include the line: “Spirit is so --con, --tay, --juss,” and the words “nevermind” and “spirit.” I’m not convinced, mostly because you can go into that book and find a connection to basically every single thing in the world ever. Rating: James Monroe

Download – Yo La Tengo – The Crying of Lot G Rating: Millard Fillmore
Download – The Klaxons – Gravity’s Rainbow Rating: Lyndon Baines Johnson

Yo La Tengo does justice to TP's shortest book, the one people actually read. The second one is some discopunk band x you might like if you’re still really into The Rapture. I’m not, so I think it sucks, esp. since it’s named after the great beast.

Download – Thelonious Sphere Monk – Brilliant Corners

TP was really into Monk. It makes sense; each had a highly attuned yet jarring sense of humor that was rare in his respective art form. This is the title track from one of Monk’s best albums. In TP’s debut novel V., published seven years after this song was released, there’s a character named “McClintic Sphere,” who is, one can argue fairly convincingly, a stand-in for Monk. A less convincing case can be made for V, the titular female character, as a stand in for Monk’s mistress and patron, Baroness Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter, in whose New Jersey home Monk wrote Corners. This guy goes for both (if someone actually follows that link I will eat my own feet). Rating: Thomas Jefferson

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