Friday, February 17th, 2006
“The only girl I’ve ever loved
Was born with roses in her eyes,
But then they buried her alive one evening 1945 with just her sister at her side
And only weeks before the guns all came and rained on everyone,
Now she’s a little boy in Spain playing pianos filled with flames
On empty rings around the sun all sing to say my dream has come.”
– “Holland 1945”, Neutral Milk Hotel
Okay, update for days one and two, starting with two. Most of today was spent a) sleeping in, and b) wandering aimlessly through the city. Both were incredibly easy to accomplish since a) I was jet lagged, and b) it’s an easy city to get lost in. Impenetrable street names and countless identical-looking canals arranged in circular fashion equals something something. I did manage to take in two impressive sights, though. The first was the Anne Frank House, which was as solemn and sobering an experience as you might imagine. I was actually somewhat surprised how large the annex where she and her family hid from the Nazis was, but maybe it’s not so spacious with eight people in it and if you’re not allowed to leave for two years. Photos weren’t permitted inside, hence my use of an old picture of the secret bookcase entrance to their hideaway for this post.
My other stop was to the Foam photographic museum, which was featuring an exhibition of the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was not familiar with him before seeing this exhibit but am absolutely going to rectify that – his photographs taken all over the world throughout the 20th century were nothing short of amazing. I’m still new to this photography thing, but his work was really inspiring.
Last night was spent in the company of Pink Is The New Blog and Rachel And The City, both of whom are my hotelmates out here at the Lloyd. A quick stroll through the notorious Red Light District was kind of disappointing – very tourist-y and not nearly as seedy as I’d expected/hoped. What was a little surprising was to see the working girls still at work early this afternoon. I don’t know how short a straw you have to draw to end up with the 1PM shift on a Friday afternoon, but it can’t be an especially choice time slot.
Also last night was an after-gig show/party in the hotel lounge by Belgian band Zita Swoon. Honestly, it sounded like a big hippie jam-fest to me, but the crowd was pretty excited about it. I’m more interested in zipping down to Utrecht tonight with Coolfer to catch Jens Lekman. Fingers crossed that we can find the place and it’s not sold out!
The weather has been pretty dismal while I’ve been here, so the camera hasn’t been getting a real workout. Besides not wanting to get it wet, the grey, overcast skies don’t really inspire. But I’m putting the shots I do take up on ye olde Flickr page, so have a boo over the next few days if you will.
I was very excited to see the first draft of the SxSW schedule go online yesterday. Most of the big-name showcases don’t have set times yet, which makes planning still something of a crapshoot, but since getting into the big shows is a pain in the ass anyway, it’s a good start for figuring out where I’m going to be and when. And since the schedule also comes with band profiles and some audio samples, it also allows investigation of new and interestingly-named bands.
Torontonian Anglophiles will be happy to hear that Elbow will be in town April 17 at a venue to be determined. PopMatters has an interview. Also new – Editors at The Phoenix on March 24 and Nine Black Alps with Giant Drag at the ElMo on April 4.
np – The National / Black Sessions 2005