Seen/Done/Heard

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I’ve had a good day and an interesting week. Seems like spring is giving me the courage to venture outside my self-imposed boundaries a little bit. Here are a few things I’ve seen/done/heard lately:

1. Souad Massi. I discovered her this week and her music is addictive; a talented singer, songwriter and musician, she sings mostly in Arabic or Algerian, sometimes blending in English, French or Kabyle. Whatever language she sings in, her melodies pull you in, speaking straight to the heart. Algerian and Muslim in origin, she was forced to flee her country following death threats from Islamic fundamentalists who were violently opposed to her singing with her pop group “Akator”, which had Rock influences and was politically outspoken. Her first solo album, called Deb, meaning “heartbroken” in Arabic, was released in 2004 and became an instant classic. On the album, she flirts with various Western musical styles, which are often beautifully integrated with more traditional oriental instruments and arrangements, making for a contemporary sound that is global in reach. Her own acoustic guitar playing accompanies her warm and often melancholy voice seamlessly. “And now here we are, it’s like talking to the stars” are the words she sings on Moudja, which reminds me of a lullaby, with gentle fairy bells throughout. On Ya Kelbi her voice is plaintive and the musical arrangements are initially oriental in sound, then a violin joins in and plays a classical air, transitions back to oriental, and ends the song with a dramatic finale which would be well suited to a suspense movie. One of my favorite tracks is a ballad called Le bien et le mal (The Good and the Bad). Massi sings it beautifully and even though the lyrics are in Arabic, it brings to mind la chanson Francaise as sung by Francoise Hardy, Carla Bruni & co. This girl’s not done going places.

2. I must say I think I look fantastic today. I’ve got the pics to prove it, and I’m not just saying that because I’m full of myself either. In the past moths my normal amount of primping went from high maintenance to totally letting myself go, so I think I look like crap most of the time. I was eight months overdue for a haircut but couldn’t get myself to go to my hairdresser. What would we talk about? Would she find me fat? Could I handle going to that fancy hair salon with the snooty clientèle that often peoples it? And finally, why bother? But the other day I realized a little boost might do me some good. When I called up my lovely hairdresser, M and shared some of my misgivings with her, she told me they were having a quiet week at the salon and to just show up whenever suits me best “depending on how I feel”. This morning I woke up bright and (relatively) early and decided this had to be the day. My hair was a disaster. It was raggedy and had grown about 5 inches since the last cut. Five inches is what we cut off today, and it went from limp and lifeless to fresh and bouncy when she gave me a blow-dry that made my hair look great. I kept saying she didn’t have to go through the trouble and insisted I wasn’t doing anything special tonight, but she said it would make me feel better. Boy was she ever right. I’d forgotten how good that feels and also what great conversations we have. She’s interested in all sorts of things like holistic food and medicine, past lives and witches and says things to me like “you know there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just that the world we live in isn’t organized to accommodate people like you”. I could hug her for that. And did. To top it all off, for a reason I simply cannot figure out, she refuses to let me pay. I tell her she’s my good fairy and it makes her laugh. But she is, I’m sure she is.

3. Books! I was going to write a book review today, but I guess it’ll have to wait because I’ve had lots of bookish posts lately and it’ll start to look like this blog is only about books. I guess I got excited about books again because I hadn’t read anything for a while and then I finally picked up Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart, which had been sitting here for months. I ended up not liking it as much as other Murakami stories I’ve read, but then I started a great great great book called Ten Thousand Lovers and after finishing, I was reminded of just how much I love reading. The reviews will follow on another day, but in the meantime I have a wish list which has roughly 50 books on it now, and I’m planning to put an online order in today-ish so I can start enjoying some of that book goodness. I’m really excited about that. But it’s going to be really tough deciding how many to get and which to get now, which later. Big problem. Mind you, problems like that, I can deal with any day.

4. Speaking of books, I’m trying to figure out why it is that both times I’ve posted about “Books Will Fly” I’ve gotten no activity on the blog whatsoever on ANY post other than from my mom, Lori and a TT participant. That really bums me out. And it surprises me, because I have such wonderful readers who are so generous in spirit. All I was asking was for some participation of some kind, if only to help spread the word. We’re just trying to bring relief in the most direct way we know how to, and it’s a great cause. Does everybody just not care? Why did everyone decide to stay quiet when I posted that? I’m just trying to understand, because it makes no sense to me.

5. Fritz is SO spoiled. But of course he has no idea and just takes it all for granted. So today I wanted to go to the art store again but at 3:30 p.m. they were closed for some strange reason. I was really annoyed, but I decided to take a long walk home instead of taking the subway, even though it was -16ºC (3.2ºF) with the wind factor today. Has spring truly sprung? There was a pet store on the way home, so I went in and picked a few things for Fritz, one of them being the latest water fountain model. He was bored with the last one I’d gotten him and it leaked on the floor, so I had gotten rid of it. But then the strangest thing happened, because after taking it out of the box, I had taken it apart and was washing all the parts before filling it up for him, and the whole time he just kept running between the spot where the old fountain used to be and my legs, meowing excitedly. He somehow knew this was a new fountain destined for his use. This new one doesn’t look anything like the last one, so I’m really surprised that he figured it out all by himself. My cat is a genius.

Pic: Smiler by Smiler

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