Not So Happy

I’ve been listening to the new Dar Williams album pretty much non-stop, especially since I got my computer back from Apple. (They even slapped a new keyboard on–my cat had clawed off several of the keys, and they don’t pop back on the way you think they might). I have a stereo, but it, along with most of my other possessions, is in storage–hence this whole computer listening thing. Luckily, unlike my father, I am not that fussy about sound quality.

I am feeling a little guilty because my copy of the album is a copy (though not really guilty, because, as much as I love Dar Williams, I am less than pleased with the music industry) and somewhat more guilty because I’ve realized I like her covers on this album better than her original material. I’m particularly taken with the version of “Comfortably Numb” she does with Ani Difranco.

I was once trying to explain the nature of Pink Floyd and the attraction they hold for certain males of junior high age (and up, come to think of it). I finally said that they had a song called “Comfortably Numb.” That seemed to do it. I always found it overwrought, but I love this version. Perhaps I’m just relating to Dar’s stated intention

The song is a commentary on who we are in the aftermath of the last election, no matter who you voted for. On one level it is about a dream which seems to have died in our society and the ultra convenient numbing I am witnessing these days.

Or perhaps I’m just down. The sun shone today, and on Friday, but other than that it’s been unrelentingly gray here for weeks. I had no idea before I moved to the Chicago area that it really ought to be called–in the winter, at least–the Gray City, not the Windy City. I have one of those fancy lightboxes, and I use it from time to time, but it’s just not the same. The other day I asked a woman here in the suburbs when she’d last seen the stars. “Last night!” she said. “I have glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling over my bed!” It’s kind of like that. Or, as my college friend Theo once said of File Maker Pro, then the reporting system for Campus Patrol: “it’s like a vibrator–it gets the job done, but it’s not the same as the real thing.” Well, perhaps it’s not quite like that. . . but you get the idea.

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