Friday, September 3, 2010

Haircuts and Soundscapes

There’s nothing better than a good haircut. Especially if the stylist always remembers your nut allergy, gives a great head massage, and is a punk rock dj which means playing very cool music instead of the usual salon faux-relaxing stuff that is precisely the opposite of relaxing. Two summers ago I went to get my hair cut and announced that we had to rush so I could thing 1 and to swim lessons—no need to mess around with blow drying or even washing it. He said, “now if you’re just going to stick your hair in a pony tail, jump in the chlorinated pool, and stay in the sun all summer we might as well save your money and my time and just give you a little bang trim” So he basically told me to come back when I could treat my hair like a grown up. And while by big city standards anything in cvillle is cheap when the thermometer tops 90 I’d still rather buy beer and ice cream than a hair cut. We now have an arrangement which involves ignoring my hair for four months and letting it get disgusting from the pool and general summer grime and then chopping all the damaged crappy dread lock f stuff off at the start of school. He claims it’s a sassy style. So if you live in cville you should get your hair done by Christopher Hayes. You might even get to hear an old acoustic Sonic Youth tune.

It’s also always important to be well coiffed for the preschool parent orientation when you’re husband has already forbidden you to speak because your cynicism about the whole business will traumatize new parents. It’s also useful if you have already decided in advance that because you failed preschool and find arts and crafts traumatic there is no way in hell you will even approach the project that will for sure involves glue, markers, scissors and construction paper. (yes they did try to hold me back in preschool for failure to string cheerios which I still can not do.) But in the end nothing topped the mother, who after a long earnest discourse on the benefits of play based education by the teacher followed by parents who wanted their kids to learn to make friends, said that she really wanted her child to learn letters. I did not say that my kid went to that preschool and was the only child who didn’t know letters at the beginning of kindergarten but could still read Great Men of Rome by the end of the year. I also got a chance to continue activating my anti power point text guerrilla warfare. This involves aggressively texting on my very large phone when pages of text appear for the audience to read. I’m all for pictures and bullet points but the long illegible blocks of text drive me nuts. My phone, “the easy use” phone is specially designed for people over 80 who are not familiar with technology so texting is a large type affair which may be distracting to those around me. (it also has a red 911 button which is dangerous if you live with a preschooler who loves the phone) I began this during a completely ludicrous orientation about a new web based system required of the faculty in which some young thing from the Deans office stuck large text based slides on a screen.

On the scholarly front this is likely old news to anyone doing interdisciplinary work I was struck again today by the perils of interdisciplinarity. An article I wrote was reviewed by a person who does history of sound as a Historian. He liked the article but thought in essence that I ought to tone down the music as in the stuff with scores and composers whose names we know. I have spent much of career attempting to think beyond the notes, to think about what the experience of sound was in the early modern period. And I’ve always learned a great deal from scholars working outside of music who taught me the value of thinking about broader sounds capes—thunder, speech cadences, wheels turning etc…. And indeed some of the things I work on involve productions with no scores so this is a useful tact. But I was hoping for a convergence—how did those sounds that stand outside of what imagine as music inflect the sound experience. But let’s not get rid of the music all together. Let me stress that the review was positive, thoughtful and helpful and I’d love to meet the person who wrote it. But as a rule I didn’t think it was especially tactful to insert verbatim at least five paragraphs of text from your own article. Such habits also do get in the way of anonymity, it’s best to assume that anyone who writes history or early modern Europe is probably pretty good as searching and identifying authors and ideas through key phrases and has probably learned to be a wiz with google. Back to the soundscape of a house with an almost four year old who imagines himself to be a rock star—loud!!!!!!!

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