I rearranged the boudoir last weekend and discovered a box of mix tapes under the bed.
Do you remember the mix tape?
I'm listening now to "Mix Tape #1," which was given to me ten years ago by a bearded poet in Arizona. I can barely make out the song list now, but know from repetition how every song melts into the next. Disorientation sets in if, out in the real world, a particular Built to Spill song isn't immediately followed by Refrigerator's "Colton."
I've been putting a lot of my music on the computer lately, devising song lists to distract my culinary victims. It's not the same, is it? A mix tape was always heavy, there were choices involved. You couldn't fit everything on it - not even a fancy 90-minute tape - and the order was incredibly important. Putting 72 songs on random feels, by contrast, a bit cavalier.
The advantage to computer music is versatility. This is important in Paris because I can no longer predict what people will like. The tastes around the table may range from Fado to German electronica, from Brit pop to Django Reinhardt. I can't put on GBV after a night of drinking and expect folks to know it, much less pump their fists in the air (Loretta, you are missed).
So we experiment, all of us, with eachother's "international" music. I try the Mountain Goats with one country and get Die Sterne in return from another. Half of it I like, and the other half I hope to learn to like.
But on some nights, when every fiber is sick of growing, it's great to just kick back and rewind with a mix tape. To conjure, with the help of Uncle Tupulo, the known but long ago world where real men wore hoodies and drank Old Style - where Converse were universally filthy.
Does that not sound like paradise? I guess you had to be there.