Feb 7, 2012

ABOUT ME and not about bikes

My wife points out- correctly- that too many of my posts here are about bicycles.  Quite true.  So I thought maybe you'd like to hear about some of the other things I love.

The first thing that may surprise you as a reader of this blog is that I have read almost everything by C.S. Lewis.  I'm enough of a fan that I've visited his grave and his home in Oxford, England.  While there, I was able to chat with a neighbor that had lived there while he was alive.  I also went for a walk in the small forest behind his house.  Without agonizing over it, my favorite of his books would be the Space Trilogy, with Peralandra a quick choice for absolute favorite.  Or the Great Divorce.

My favorite visual artists are a wide lot.  Again, I could think about this for a long long time, but I really like Marc Chagall, for his colors and his odd subjects (chickens marrying people, etc.)  I'm fascinated by Pollock, even though I don't much understand him.  Conceptually, I love Jenny Holzer.  And I like the texture of Van Gogh.  Oh, and I like Piet Mondrian.  Again, though, I don't really understand what's going on there.  Photography-wise, I like Ansel Adams (of course) and Galen Rowell, Anton Corbijn, and Dorothea Lange.  I guess textural black & white would define what I love in a picture.  Also, my wife's photos are just wonderful.

I like guitars and I suppose I could say I play the guitar.  "Play" is a bit of an overstatement.  Or else I just know an awful lot of good guitarists personally, and not many bad ones.  My feelings in this realm are a bit torn between the simplicity of playing an acoustic on the beach or on a nice wide, wooden porch, and the echo-machine-brilliance of The Edge or Johnny Greenwood (of Radiohead).  The sound of OK Computer and Achtung Baby put together into a blender would be my ideal electric sound, I suppose.  I'd give anything to play like that.  Well, except for actual time practicing, of course.  In reality, I can hack at most any set of chords, but I'm not sophisticated enough (or interested enough) to know about sharp and flat chords, etc.  I have a Lotus that I bought in a Florida pawn shop and a Takamine that my friend Shannon sold me to make money for Haiti.

I won't bother to go into music, because I could talk forever, but I will tell you that I listened only to Christian rock music until just before college, when I bought Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" (along with listening to U2 all through my teen years- since '85), and R.E.M. all through college.  I think they started to go fast downhill after Automatic. (B&W cover.... you see?)  I really love the pedal-steel banjo kinda thing on Son Volt's "Trace".  Also, I deeply love Moog synthesizers and that sort of "first wave" analog sound from the 80's.  If that doesn't make sense, give a listen to the synths and drum machines in "Always Something There To Remind Me" by Naked Eyes (I think).

Oh, and I love the novels of Mark Helprin.  If you've not read Winter's Tale, you're depriving yourself.

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