Three pop-cultural experiences that have recently contributed, with varying degrees, to my reserves of delight:
1. The Mountain Goats have released the tracklist for their forthcoming album, Heretic Pride, out in February of ‘08. You can read it here. If you don’t want to hear an album whose first track is called “Sax Rohmer #1,” that’s okay, we can still be lifelong friends and all, but maybe I’ll find myself worrying about you in the small hours of sleepless nights. I’ll phone people awake from their peaceful slumber and ask, “Hey, doesn’t X seem kind of detached to you? Like he or she doesn’t have enough joy in his or her life, or maybe lacks the capacity for joy? I don’t want to throw around the term sociopath, but. . . ” OK, I overstate. Back before Get Lonely came out, John Darnielle was telling interviewers he was working on a collection of songs about sad monsters, and so maybe this is it? If so I am extra delighted. I have begun setting my hopes on this album’s matching the lofty heights set by Fury household fave We Shall All Be Healed (despite said favoritism being rendered somewhat problematic by WSABH’s appearance on that Blender 100 best indie-rock albums list; what’s the fun of having a dark horse favorite if someone paints it white and shines a spotlight on it? Then again, this is Blender we’re talking about here). Speaking of monsters, you all saw Darnielle’s guest-starring turn in that gore-soaked creature-feature Aesop Rock video, right? Old news now, right? Okay, swell.
2. The passage in Colson Whitehead’s John Henry Days in which an aggressive trend-follower is described as attired in fashions so contemporary that “a subscription card could fall from his navel at any moment” (40). Also, pretty much all of John Henry Days so far; I have a feeling I’m going to have to put it aside for a while as the end-of-semester crunch begins, but I do so with great reluctance and look forward to picking it up again as soon as the break gets here. The whole bit about how when a character’s life should be flashing before his eyes he can only think about Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, is also reasonably delightful.
The perfect distillation of Gilbert Hernandez’s inimitable blend of realism and tenderness. (And blame the pixellation on me, not Gilbert, of course—I may replace this with a better scan later on). I’m coming late to Love and Rockets—I’d read a scattered issue here or there before with admiration, but had never sat down to read through them in any systematic way until these new, inexpensive collections came out. I thought there was no way these comics could live up to their reputation, but I was happily mistaken.
UPDATE: Possible 3.5. Trent Lott is retiring? I will wait to hear why before determining an appropriate level of delight.