Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Tonight, we had a summer associate trip to see Elvis Costello perform at Lincoln Center.  While I'd heard of Elvis Costello, I couldn't have named a single song of his.  After seeing him perform, I realize why.  He writes extraordinarily unmemorable songs.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, or that I don't think he's quite talented.  I enjoyed a lot of what he sang -- although the volume was way too loud (that could be because we were sitting pretty close) and so the actual words were really hard to decipher -- but can't remember a single tune.  He writes over chords, and simply doesn't have linear melody lines that are hummable and memorable.  And, he destroys any chance at remembering the songs by drowning his melodies in a wall of sound, the guitar jangle obscuring anything else, such that each up-tempo song is just non-stop jangle and they all sound the same -- and the slower songs get pretty dull.  And, he doesn't let his songs breathe.  It's non-stop words, no clear verse/chorus/verse pattern, no clear 8-bar phrasing... so it's hard to even understand where you are in a song.  Which all combines to make it -- to me, and I respect that minds can surely differ about this sort of stuff -- not at all unpleasant, but just not memorable at all, and not something I have much interest in hearing again.  Sorry, Elvis.  I'm not joining the fan club.
But that's just the opening act for the rest of this post.  Last night, I went to see the off-Broadway show "Monster" starring Dylan Moran.  Moran is a comedian from the UK.  His show, which is playing just through Saturday, I think, is basically 90 minutes of intelligent stand-up comedy.  Well, almost.  I actually really enjoyed it, and I don't tend to really enjoy all that much stuff I go see, so this was a pleasant surprise.  7.75 on a scale of 1-10.  I laughed out loud a few times, felt amused most of the time besides, and only zoned out once and started thinking about how I have no lunch plans for Friday with associates, and probably everyone else already does.  Anyway, about 65% of Moran's material seemed fresh and was engaging and even thought-provoking at times.  The other 35% was standard stand-up comedian shlock, including a bit about America's fetish with children that I think he may have stolen from George Carlin.  If you're going to steal, Carlin's a great one to steal from.  But that 35% that didn't work for me ought to be cut, replaced with stuff more like the 65% that worked, and Bingo, great show.  I totally recommend this show if you're looking for something to do in Manhattan Friday or Saturday night.  The Village Theater, 158 Bleecker Street.
The one piece of his routine that stuck in my head on the way out -- he talked about life as basically a journey to find people who understand how you think.  I think I have things to say about that.  A broader discussion.  But I will save it for tomorrow, since I have to sleep.
Just a couple of notes on books I've read since the last update, though:
>>The Working Poor, by David Shipler.  It's a book about people on the fringe of poverty.  There was a NY Times Magazine excerpt from the book a while back, about a woman who works in Wal-Mart and has no teeth.  If you read that and liked it you'll like the book.  If you didn't, you won't.  I thought it was okay but nothing special.  So this is all the space I'll give it.
>>Blindsided, by Richard Cohen.  Cohen's wife is Meredith Vieira from The View.  Cohen was a TV news producer, got multiple sclerosis, and got colon cancer -- this is a book about coping with serious illness but trying to live lief anyway.  It's very personal, it's very engaging -- it's a little graphic at times regarding colon stuff, so the best place to read it may be on the toilet.  It's a fine book.  You're not missing anything if you don't read it, but if you're still reading this paragraph, you might like the book.