When I first heard it…

All the Umbrellas in London by The Magnetic Fields

I first heard this song in December 1995. I was lying on the bed in a boutique hotel in Boston’s North End. The window was cracked open to let in the winter breeze as the room was stifling hot.

There was a small radio on the nightstand that was by chance tuned to a college radio station.

This was, as it turned out a year or so later, on the last night of my first honeymoon.

I was hooked immediately by the flanged drum beat and rolling synths of the intro. Then came Stephin Merritt’s deep voice with the opening lines:

If I make it tonight it’ll be all right
It’ll make a good song or something
I’ve been trying to give myself reasons to live
And I really can’t think of one thing

For a little over three minutes I was in a state of melancholic bliss. I still feel that way when I listen to it today.

Election 2016

I was sitting in a ramen shop here in Japan at lunch today and chatting with an Englishman about the incoming US presidential election results and BREXIT. Both of us were despairing a bit about our fellow citizens and their choices.

Now that the election is over though I think there’s no time for despair and there’s no point in indulging in nonsense about leaving the country (though I admit to have thought about it in more than a little detail).

The results are disappointing for many reasons, but mostly because they reveal what I suspected for most of this year. There was a great mass of ugliness lurking beneath the surface of electorate. Now it is out in the open and it is time to work against it. That’s what I think we should focus on in the coming months and years.

Cheers and all the best to all of us as Americans.