Monday, June 18, 2007

Just My Bill

Visitors to the Believer website might have noticed that one article isn't available online at all—not even the first couple paragraphs, as is usually the case. The piece, entitled "Transit Byzantium," by Joe Hagan, is a stunner—and you can only read it by picking up a copy of the actual magazine!

This piece alone is worth the $10 cover price, I assure you. It's a perfect example of one of my favorite kinds of pieces: The search for the reclusive genius, the creator gone mute for years, an artist of the missing. The inquisitive reporter begins with a myth and winds up with something more human—and sadder—than previously imagined.

What makes "Transit Byzantium" even more poignant is that the character in question (who I won't name here, for reasons you'll learn by the end of this sentence) told someone, who told Joe, that he doesn't want to be on the Internet. Traces can be found, of course, and I'll provide some links below, but to respect his wishes as much as possible, this story is only readable between the covers of the magazine.

Two other things:

1) A member of Team Dizzies mentioned nearly crying after reading the piece, and soon thereafter buying the album (a track of which appears on the Believer CD) and savoring it. (It's iTunes-able.)

2) A few days ago a friend mentioned she'd been listening to the Bill Fox track "from approximately ten in the morning to three in the afternoon."

Further links:

More info (and more listening) over at Joe's blog, The Driftwood Singers Present.

Here's an appearance on KCRW (mentioned in the piece) by the artist in question, found by Dizzyhead Arlo.

And just for kicks, here's some rare footage of the musician's potent power-pop band, The Mice (very different from the material on Transit Byzantium, but a kick to watch)...

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And the Blvr. CD, by the way, is great. I'm From Barcelona's "The Painter" is a "Ballad of El Goodo" for the late aughts. (You can quote me.) "Don't give up on your dreams, boy/Don't give up on your dreams now, buddy," over and over again...

* * *

Also, unrelated: Many thanks to everyone who came out last week for the LIT reading—that was fun!

(And note to Eugene H.—drop me a line via the address in my Blogger profile...the address you gave didn't work!)

* * *

This weekend, picked up the new Esopus at Labyrinth. That's a dangerous magazine, because if you happen to glimpse it, you have to buy it. This issue has the usual wide-ranging smorgasbord...so far I've been particularly fond of the articulate and sublimely boring six-page found letter by a revolutionary (Kathy) to whom one imagines is her would-be swain, explaining why they can't get involved (all in massively thought-out political terms) . . . and the letter from Japan that artist James Lee Byars sent to MOMA curator Dorothy C. Miller. Actually it's not technically a "letter" . . . Ah, you'll just have to get the issue to see what it is.

But first—get the new Believer!

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2 Comments:

Blogger J McB said...

Aw, shoot, thanks, Ed. I totally skipped that piece in the magazine. Thanks for pointing it out. It (and the accompanying tune on the CD) are really super swell!

7:49 PM  
Blogger treece said...

Is there any chance you might know how to get a hold of both or just one of his cds other than itunes? I found a link to Amazon selling 1 for 50 something $$ and the other for $150!!! Ouch.

5:40 PM  

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