Fans of The Books will no doubt recognize the lyric “I can’t find the books/ They must be in La Jolla”. I always assumed it was no more than a passing reference to the group’s name, perhaps from an old movie or TV show. In the car yesterday on the way from New Haven to New York, I caught part of a This American Life program, rebroadcast from 2002, that revealed the line to be so much more. Turns out it is excerpted from a “viral voicemail” (people had to amuse themselves somehow before YouTube) that was circulated around the Columbia campus during the early 1990’s (perhaps around the time Paul de Jong was working as an assistant to Otto Luening). All these little unexpected connections between things; the line now takes on a completely different meaning, which I think is just the kind of cultural archæology The Books love. I won’t spoil the episode by revealing the content of said voicemail, but you can listen to the entire episode, which is excellent, here.
Both of my Sunday concerts (at Yale and LPR) went swimmingly; Wendy’s concert was a heartwarming, family affair, which can happen when you come from a family of string players. I’ve already got a solid recording of Clamber Music up for you to hear (thanks, Fred Plaut Recording Studio!). LPR was also a pretty emotional scene, because it was the last Ensemble ACJW concert of the season, and lots of its members are “graduating”; scary, to be cast out into the open sea of New York Musicians with no nourishing mother to get you gigs and order you around.
Tangentially related: Why is Carnegie Hall‘s website so terrible? I feel like it’s 1998 and I’m loading it on my G3 Powerbook in Internet Explorer 4. Half the thing doesn’t even show up on my iPhone/iPad. You’d think mobile devices would be one of their primary targets (imagine you‘re out and about and wonder what’s on tonight. Just try pulling up the site on your iPhone; the calendar won’t load. You could always go to the very user-friendly text only version). The design is a weird mishmash of fonts and colors jammed together into one hideous mosaic. To round it all out, there’s a huge, empty black footer. Carnegie Hall, you’re so wonderful in so many ways; your web presence is not one of them, and it doesn’t do you justice.