Sunday, October 25, 2009


Fragments of Slovene Literature is, as its title suggests, an anthology of Slovene literature. Slovene is a language spoken by about two million people, mainly in Slovenia, a former Yugoslav republic which is now independent. A few translated works of Slovene literature have been published in the U.S., but none of them have entered into the consciousness of the American reading public. Hence, I had never read any Slovene literature before, and you probably haven't either.

I picked the book up out of curiosity, but somewhat to my surprise there was quite a bit of good writing inside. Some novelists, short story writers and/or playwrights whose contributions particularly struck me were Vladimir Bartol, Dominik Smole, Evald Flisar, Berta Bojetu Boeta, Milan Klec', Maja Novak, Andre Morovic' and Igor S'kamperle. (The apostrophes should be carons, like ^ but upside down, above the preceding letter.) There's also a lot of poetry, but I don't pretend to be any judge of poetry.

The anthology works on the principle of breadth rather than depth: there are 132 writers represented (most with a single work or excerpt) in 432 pages. While the earliest works included are from the 16th century, over two-thirds of the pages are devoted to post-World War II literature.

The editorial apparatus, if one can call it that, is stunningly unhelpful. The introduction is devoted mainly to listing writers who are not represented in the anthology. No information is given about the works included or excerpted from, not even whether they're short stories or novels. (Sometimes you can't even tell whether you're reading an excerpt or a completel work.) Nor is there any information about the authors other than their dates of birth and death. There isn't an index, so if you're looking for an author you have to hunt through the six-page table of contents. And the table of contents doesn't include titles, so if you're looking for a specific work you're really out of luck.

According to the link above, Amazon has one used copy for sale for thirty-two bucks. If the linked page disappears, or you want to try your luck searching elsewhere, the ISBN is 961-6547-01-1.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009


It's embarrassing to have to admit, but when I wrote that Coyote "would be a standout [track] on Loaded," it had slipped my mind that Sweet Jane and Rock and Roll were on Loaded.

I do have mitigating circumstances to plead, though. I first heard Sweet Jane and Rock and Roll on 1969, and listened to that album many times before hearing the studio versions on Loaded. In fact, I don't recall ever hearing Loaded until the Fully Loaded two-CD set was released, which would have been over a decade after I heard 1969. So to me, the versions on 1969 were the real versions, and I associated the songs with that album rather than with Loaded. (In fact, I still prefer Sweet Jane without the "heavenly wine and roses" bit.)

Coyote isn't as good as either of those two songs, so instead of being a "standout," I'd have to say merely that it could hold its own on Loaded.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009


I've been re-listening to my CDs of the Velvet Underground's 1993 reunion tour, both Live MCMXCIII -- the legitimate 2CD set -- and a bunch of bootlegs. I'm not done, but here are some generalizations:

The parts that reward repeated listening are the guitar or guitar/viola workouts. These occur in the places you'd expect; and also, surprisingly, in Some Kinda Love. The Velvets didn't play Sister Ray on the tour, alas. But Hey Mister Rain filled the "controlled chaos" spot more than adequately, though there was a lot less variation between different performances of Hey Mister Rain than there had been for Sister Ray back in the day.

On the other hand, the new versions of the songs whose main interest was the vocals are mainly dispensible. Reed's vocals are different from before -- and, frankly, bizarre -- but the difference is not to the newer stuff's advantage. An exception to this is Pale Blue Eyes: not that Reed's vocals are any better, but the addition of Cale's viola improves the song enormously.

Coyote is a good song, not a great song. It would be a standout on Loaded and would hold its own on VU or Another View (as you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of Loaded).

The synthesizer intro to I'm Waiting for the Man is just strange. Unless it's supposed to be a parody of stadium rock (something that just occurred to me), I don't see the point.

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