I just got back from Mexico yesterday, which was a relief after a 36-hour travel mishap much too tragic to detail here. But San Miguel itsself was just perfect. That place makes the most intriguing noises at night, a combination of strange birds and frogs, distant mariachis, and the bells of about 147 different churches, all tuned differently. If you ever find yourself there, you should stop in and visit Barbara at her store.
On the way back my iPod did the most amazing thing ever (besides just existing, which it also does admirably). Namely, I put it on shuffle and it played three songs in a row: The Smiths’s The Headmaster Ritual, Radiohead’s Bishop’s Robes, and The Decemberists’s The Sporting Life. What is amazing about this is not just that it played them in chronological order, but that all the songs deal with basically the same subject matter— feeling like an outcast at a conservative boarding school. I mean, if it had played three songs about How Much I Miss You, that wouldn’t be so special, but this is pretty specific subject matter here. Just compare the lyrics (linked from the song titles)— they all talk about being hurt on the “playing fields” which I guess is what they call them in Britain. It’s pretty obvious that the Smiths’s song inspired the other two, which are not nearly as good (Radiohead was self-aware enough to leave the overly-morose Bishop’s Robes a b-side). The Headmaster Ritual manages to evoke, in the music as well as the lyrics, that feeling of unbearable outrage at, as well as powerlessness in the face of authority (the total opposite of “We don’t need no education,” instead it’s “Give up education as a bad mistake”). The pacing is also weird and perfect, sort of hurtling forward, stream-of-consciousness, with the breaths coming out almost like sobs.
In conclusion, my iPod is either a) Morrissey; b) possessed; or c) too smart for its own good.