chickfactor top ten lists (round two)

robert mctaggart: top ten cities

  1. copenhagen – because my heart is where home is.
  2. manchester – for all your faults, you were good to me for 27 years.
  3. helsinki/stockholm – for friends, and the joy of being by water.
  4. buenos aires – infuriating, polluted, conceited, thrilling, colourful and completely alive.
  5. tbilisi – kala’s warren of ramshackle beauty. being escorted to narikala by teenagers singing beatles songs. kachapauri. and this building…. (see above)
  6. rio de janeiro – every day brought an “I can’t believe I’m here” moment.
  7. istanbul – architecture, atmosphere and the sheer pleasure of squandering an afternoon with nargileh, mint tea and good company.
  8. vilnius – green and bohemian, warm nights and cold beer at uzupio kavine.
  9. moscow – bloody-minded, a little bit terrifying, thoroughly exhilarating. the new tretyakov gallery and the patriarch ponds.
  10. berlin – because at night, the possibilities just seem so endless.

if this has done anything it’s served to make me want to go to the far east, the west coast of the US and everywhere else. I am aware that I have neglected entire continents. that is something I promise to put right in the near future. and I only left out paris because it seemed too obvious.


mark robinson’s top ten list

  1. haruki murakami 1Q84 (book).
  2. moonrise kingdom (film)
  3. miranda july – it chooses you (book)
  4. national geographic (magazine)
  5. la kings tee-shirt
  6. estoner the stump will rise (lp)
  7. the truth (podcast)
  8. roxy music, the complete studio recordings (boxed set)
  9. too much information (wfmu podcast)
  10. lana del ray, “video games” (single)


yoshi the aislers set’s top ten list

  1. chickfactor new york – lois!
  2. chickfactor london – the pastels!
  3. game of thrones
  4. deerhoof, breakup songs
5. grouper and jeffre cantu-ledesma performing circular veil at HAU2 in berlin
  5. jiro dreams of sushi
  6. françois & the atlas mountains, e volo love
8. janet cardiff & george bures miller exhibit at haus der kunst in munich
  7. je suis animal at indie pop days in berlin
  8. finally getting around to reading middlesex by jeffrey eugenides while on the beach in sardegna.


rachel blumberg: top ten hot sauces of 2012

  1. saucesome – red (from portland!)
  2. saucesome – green
  3. matouk’s calypso sauce
  4. salsa huichol
  5. poblano hot sauce – red jalapeno
  6. pepper plant sauce – chunky garlic
  7. cholula –  original
  8. tabasco – smokey chipotle
  9. tapatio
  10. sriracha


lisa the mad scene: 10 things I enjoyed the most in 2012 (in no particular order)

  1. harold lloyd film festival at film forum
  2. fence awaygame festival on the isle of eigg in july
  3. seamus fogarty god damn you mountain lp and live performance (counting as one under the seamus fogarty umbrella)
  4. reading little dorrit (dickens)
  5. the song “heart heart” by withered hand
  6. james yorkston I was a cat from a book lp
  7. drinking bourbon cocktails
  8. olo worms, yard is open lp
  9. volunteering with taran at the woodstock farm animal sanctuary
  10. walking up an sgurr and spending some time at the top sipping scotch and eating cheese with ade, mark and offramp, and then walking back down again.


top ten artists gail would like to see reactivated in 2013

  1. opal / kendra smith
  2. squirrel bait
  3. containe / the pacific ocean
  4. marine girls
  5. shitstorm
  6. dolly mixture
  7. glo-worm
  8. salem 66
  9. the cocteau twins
  10. the sundays


2012: our top ten lists (round one)

gail’s top ten list

  1. black tambourine hitting the stage at artisphere on april 7, 2012.
  2. pretty much every chickfactor show (there were 12). the things people said to me onstage and off reminded me why I do/did what I do/did and reminded me of my place in the universe. (I love you new york. I love you london. I love you sf. I love you d.c. I love you l.a. I love you portland)
  3. meeting grass widow, having a great photo shoot and seeing them play three times!
  4. going back to school. I studied psychology and the brain and stress management and public health. neurogenesis!
  5. weekend in olympia. lois, tae, momtch, nikki & calvin’s birthday.
  6. the oregon coast.
  7. watching the dolly mixture documentary with donovan kelly (son of debsey from dolly mixture!)
  8. saint etienne on halloween in portland! also: watching an MLS game with bob beforehand.
  9. may 30: spending the day with joe pernice. we ate lunch, we ran errands, we shopped for bmx bike parts, we talked about music, he chased a petty criminal who stole an iphone, he slept in my car, he played an amazing set at our portland chickfactor party at bunk bar.
  10. portland timbers win the cascadia cup.

hannah grass widow’s list

  1. starting our own label (HLR) and releasing internal logic
  2. getting obsessed with silver apples
  3. touring with the raincoats and joining them to sing “lola” every night
  4. discovering pimm’s cup
  5. scrapers band
  6. making 8 music videos and completely losing my mind.
  7. wet hair band
  8. hollywood nails
  9. stray light gray exhibit at marlborough gallery
  10. shockwave video nights in the cinecave at lost weekend

top ten poetry collections by daniel handler

  1. eileen myles – snowflake
  2. matthew dickman, mayakovsky’s revolver
  3. heather christle, what is amazing
  4. frederick seidel, nice weather
  5. emily petit, goat in the snow
  6. emily kendal frey, the grief performance
  7. dorothea lasky, thunderbird
  8. paul legault, the emily dickinson reader
  9. david ferry, bewilderment
  10. mary jo bang, dante’s inferno

jim ruiz’s top ten belgian or dutch beers he tried this year and liked, with insightful comments

  1. lindeman’s apple. this ain’t cider, takes a moment to adjust but then—yummy!
  2. texels skuumkoppe. tried this in Amsterdam, as the name implies, creamy and delicious.
  3. liefman’s fruitesse. light and refreshing.
  4. casteel rouge. on tap. I’m no beer snob, I just like it. my favorite kriek so far.
  5. delierium tremens. if I’m in the mood for the old straight and narrow, this is as good a belgian as any.
  6. brouwerij timmermans—john martins, bourgogne des flandres. bruin sour beer is a challenging but sometimes it really hits the spot.
  7. heineken—on tap at the melkweg. heineken is better in the netherlands, a very pleasant surprise!
  8. unknown brand gueuze—tried this at tim’s house in london. tart but lovely.
  9. la chouffe—a blonde, lighter by belgian standards.
  10. la brasserie dupont—saison dupont. to be honest, one of the first belgians I tried. still love it.

top ten chapters of moby dick by lois maffeo

are you listening to the moby dick big read? all 135 chapters, one a day, read by academics, writers, marine biologists, melville keeners and movie stars! here are my top ten chapters of the 92 chapters read to date here.

  1. chapter 1 – loomings. read by tilda swinton.

“I always go to sea as a sailor because  they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I’ve ever heard of.”

  1. chapter 11 – nightgown. read by neil tennant.

“truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.” seems like a very pet shop boy-y thing to say.

  1. chapter 24 – the advocate. read by james woudhuysen.

“among people at large, the business of whaling is not accounted on the level with what are called the liberal professions.” defending the whalemen of the charge that they are all misfit wasters.

  1. chapter 58 – brit. read by benedict cumberbatch.

he makes the word “vast” sound way more vast that the way I say it. (when I say it it rhymes with fast. when he says it, it’s like someone fell into deep space. vaaaaahhhhhhssssst.)

  1. chapter 78 – cistern and buckets. read by david piper. in which a fellow with a speaking voice like david niven reads the thrilling story of tashtego falling into a dead whale as it is being butchered. “and with a horrible, oily gurgling, went clean out of sight.”
  2. chapter 65 – the whale as a dish. read by hugh fearnly-whittingstall.

if you are even glancingly familiar with HFW’s food column in the guardian, you will not in any way find it odd to hear him here describing balls of barbecued porpoise.

  1. chapter 54 – the town-ho’s story. read by joanna hollingworth.

this is moby dick in miniature. and if you only have 45 minutes to spare (rather than 4 months) this shipboard revenge tale is the way to go.

  1. chapter 68 – the blanket. read by andrew brewerton.

beautiful, codeine-slow delivery punctuated by an engaging pronunciation of blubber.

  1. chapter 15 – chowder. read by peter burgess.

“clam or cod?”

  1. chapter 42 – the whiteness of the whale. read by will self.

“bethink thee of the albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual wonderment and pale dread in which that white phantom sails in all imaginations? not coleridge first threw that spell; but god’s great, unflattering laureate, nature.”

peter momtchiloff’s top 12 favourite recent records

  1. cate le bon: cyrk
  2. goat: world music
  3. beth jeans houghton: yours truly, cellophane nose
  4. om: advaitic songs
  5. the magnetic fields: love at the bottom of the sea
  6. hooded fang: album
  7. nicki minaj: pink friday – roman reloaded
  8. cornershop: urban turban
  9. earth: angels of darkness, angels of light 2
  10. burning hearts: extinctions
  11. django django: django django
  12. cats on fire: all blackshirts to me

top ten words gail doesn’t want to hear in 2013

  1. chillax
  2. chillwave
  3. darkwave
  4. LOL
  5. EDM
  6. skrillex
  7. totes
  8. amazeballs
  9. adorbs
  10. and most of all: just sayin’

top ten words no one wants to hear / other people added to my list on a major social media site

  1. awesomesauce
  2. cray-cray
  3. nom nom nom
  4. hot mess
  5. douchebag / douchey
  6. boom
  7. curated (when it has zero to do with art)
  8. adorkable (see zooey deschanel)
  9. no worries
  10. also: “said no one ever.” wow factor. pop up shop. boutique. artisanal. “I know, right?” really? seriously? webinar. that moment…. melty. moist. chilling out loud. this. best.donut.ever. meme. yay. like. laters. so there’s that.

photograph of black tambourine by jim spellman.

the crush list 2012.

sharon van etten: I’d say nick cave, thurston moore, pj harvey, and patti smith. I met thurston moore under the most embarrassing circumstances. mike watt asked me to sing for his book release this year. it was for iggy pop. they were doing stooges stuff. and I was going to do “dirt.” and it was like, j mascis, mike watt, pete shelley. it was freaking me out. I was like, “yeah, I’ll do that. so I’m emailing back and forth with j. because I met him through jagjaguwar and he played on a song live one day with us. so he gives me this time for soundcheck and when to show up to sing with everybody. and I guess I had it wrong, or misinterpreted his email. I thought it started at this time and it was ending at that time. I’m walking down the stairs to lpr [le poisson rouge] and thurston moore is just sitting there on a bench and he’s like, “are you sharon? you missed soundcheck.” and I was like, “oh no, this is how I’m meeting thurston moore? this is the worst.” then he was like, “it’s fine, I don’t think anyone cares about any of this.” it was great. no one took themselves too seriously.

stephin the magnetic fields: drew daniel (matmos).

stephen the real tuesday weld: cate blanchett.

andrew eggs/talk it: sleep.

corin tucker: tommy lee jones.

frankie rose: ooh, I can’t say that!

pete paphides: all of butcher boy.

gail cf: john fahey, mark duplass, tim cohen, michael tomasky, wyatt cenac.

fran cannane: um today….brian cox, most musicians over 80, professor mary beard, hilary mantel, the apollo astronauts, michael mori.

hannah grass widow: grimes, just like everyone else.

gaylord cf/wfmu: I’ll adopt ernie k-doe’s sage tactic, as laid out in the song “a certain girl,” and affect coy reticence.

lillian grass widow: gary oldman really does it for me.

allen clapp: mike crabtree (husband of the legendary jim ruiz group’s bass player and vocalist charlotte crabtree and singer-guitarist for the carpetbaggers). the guy built a guitar with a bottle opener installed next to the volume controls. genius.

rachel blumberg: jeffrey underhill.

(legendary) jim ruiz: dandy livingston, june miles-kingston, and (secret) mick talbot.

matt lorelei: those handsome boys of weekend. too cool. sanae of moon duo (who are the closest I’ll get to seeing something as good as snapper).

erin a girl called eddy: jack donaghy, dr. eric kandel.

daniel handler: julia stiles, stick insect, this girl at four barrels coffee who wears a jumpsuit.

dawn cf: who isn’t…

tim dagger: sarah cracknell (we share the same birthday).

janice cf: archer prewitt, always.

shaun brilldream: amelia fletcher, fountains, joanna gruesome.

jennifer o’connor: amy bez.

james dump/yo la tengo: doona bae, shiina ringo, jennifer o’connor, annette peacock.

michael white: I can’t say, for they are almost certainly reading this.

clarissa cf: the coilhousers, mustard gas, lisa fewer reasons to get out of bed than ever.

joe pines / foxgloves: I am still available to write all scarlett johansson’s campaign speeches. or if this question is about 1992, then harriet wheeler’s.


top ten (ish) lists: round three.

it is not too late, people. deadline, schmeadline — got a list? send it to me.

excuses for not coming up with a top ten for Gail by travis elborough
1. I failed O level mathematics and have since developed a pathological fear of numbers and find that some days I am simply unable to face charts of any kind. There have been a lot of those kind of days lately. Possibly ten, even. But obviously I can’t be sure, as I was unable to count them.
2. I couldn’t think of ten things that I could wholeheartedly commit to. Three or four, sometimes. But ten. It suddenly got too much.
3. While thinking about top ten things I should write a list about, I was overcome with nostalgia for the 1990s, arguably the decade in which top ten lists really came into their own. By the time I’d got thoughts of Slacker, Generation X, So Tough, When I Was Born for the 7th Time out of my brain I was too exhausted to contemplate a top ten.
4. Phoebe, our cat, mistaking it for a mouse,a bird or something, tore up the piece of paper I had painstakingly composed my top ten list on. I lost heart after that.
5. I genuinely forgot. And having forgotten, didn’t remember until today. And, alas, inspiration didn’t exactly strike. Still hasn’t. Sorry.
6. I found I didn’t actually have ten excuses for not coming up with a top ten for Gail, so this one is in to make up the numbers.
7. God is seven, and it would be morally wrong to try and out do him/her by going in for a top ten.
8. All the other top tens were so good I just got overawed.
9. I just felt convinced that the base 10 number system had had its day.
10. I wanted to do sandwich fillings, bed-bound people in novels and Lloyd Cole songs but all of those had already been nabbed.

top ten roads in virginia by cynthia connolly
1. Route 11 (runs north / south)
2. State Route 40 (runs east / west)
3. Route 252 between Stauton and Lexington
4. Mount Tabor Road North of Blacksburg, Virginia
5. Route 231 south of Sperryville to Route 29
6. Crest Hill Road between Marshall and Flint Hill
7. Fodderstack Road between Flint Hill and Little Washington
8. Route 58 in the southern and western most part of Virginia
9. Route 42 between I – 77 and alt 16 going through Ceres
10. Route 311 west of Roanoke and then South on 635 terminating at 460

top ten reasons I am now in the eff-book herd by cf editor
yes, I know I have written on this very blog saying it was never gonna happen. I am ashamed. I am sheepish. I feel silly. happy?
1. I need a job.
2. peer pressure.
3. I was missing births, deaths and weddings.
4. every conversation I had on the old-fashioned land line (gasp!) was eff-book related.
5. to promote my new career as a TV chef.
6. to read gilmore’s london diary (see below).
7. so I could reconnect with all my cute bfs from 7th grade: will we have anything in common now?
8. nicole.
9. to be on the radar. sadly, this is the now way.
10. my real-life friend dawn sutter madell started a grassroots campaign to herd me in, flooding my private inbox, wrote this list:
top ten reasons why gail should be on facebook
1. It’s like all of your friends have blogs and can let you know what they are up to–what they are eating, taking photos of, all the mundane stuff like that.
2. It sounds so retarded and stupid, but it’s, sadly, a pretty amazing way to keep up with people.
3. All of your friends are on there. Facebook often reminds me of you when I’m on there
4. Gilmore’s London diary was some of the most amazing things I have read. Ever. EV-ER. I missed her writing!
5. You can see photos that other people post, like the ones I just saw of Dan Koretsky and Rian in high school. AMAZING. Dan looks like ducky in Pretty in Pink.
6. long chats with candice. candice. i haven’t talked to her in forever. so nice to chat with her. i’m sure you have spoken to her more recently, but still. it’s that kind of a thing. people that you have maybe fallen out of touch with, but that you REALLY like and miss.
7. oh i’m gonna stop now.
(dawn, if music supervision becomes obsolete, you can always become a lobbyist!)

top ten ways to avoid work, waste hours, be inspired. in no particular order by dawn “agoraphone” sutter madell
1. oh man. she has a great aesthetic.
2. so thorough and great. who needs martha?
3. great story teller. not to mention designer.
4. yummy veggie recipes. no, i don’t cook.
5. design-y. crafty. kids. i like it.
6. obvious.
7. sewing and knitting crafts. i sew, don’t knit.
8. again, i don’t cook. but i find this to be enthralling.
9. a potpourri of great things.
10. cosmetics database (for the paranoid in you)

Ten books you should read before you say you’ve read the most beautiful book ever by “louis philippe” auclair
1. Philip Larkin – The Whitsun Weddings
2. Antal Szerb – Journey by Moonlight
3. WG Sebald – Austerlitz
4. Alexandre Dumas père – Le Vicomte de Bragelonne
5. Kingsley Amis – The Old Devils
6. Guy de Maupassant – La Maison Tellier
7. Haruki Murakami – Sputnik Sweetheart
8. Albert Cohen – Belle du Seigneur
9. Mikhail Bulgakov – The Master and Margarita
10. Boris Pasternak – Dr Zhivago

Fifteen films you should see, etc. by philippe auclair
1. Ingmar Bergman – The Silence
2. Jean Renoir – Une Partie de campagne
3. Preston Sturges – Sullivan’s Travels
4. Terence Davies – Of Time and the City
5. Howard Hawks – Only Angels Have Wings
6. Carl Dreyer – Ordet
7. Michael Powell & Eric Pressburger – I Know Where I’m Going
8. Michael Powell & Eric Pressburger – The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
9. Orson Welles – Touch of Evil
10. Chris Marker – La Jetée
11. Billy Wilder – The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
12. Albert Lewin – Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
13. Jean Vigo – L’Atalante
14. Lars von Trier – Idioterne
15. Andreï Tarkovsky – The Sacrifice

Ten mushrooms I look for in autumn by philippe auclair
1. Shaggy Parasol
2. Chanterelle
3. Beefsteak mushroom
4. Charcoal Burner
5. The Deceiver (laccaria amethysta)
6. Oyster Mushroom
7. Penny Bun (boletus edulis)
8. Lawyer’s wig
9. Horn of plenty
10 Woodland agaric

10 Lloyd Cole songs people don’t appreciate enough. each described in 10 words by joe pines / foxgloves
1 Don’t Look Back: Morning breaks, open roads, wide-eyed stoic, Grand Canyon guitar
2 What He Doesn’t Know: Crickets chirp, delicacy, nocturnal tendresse and regret, a lost standard
3 Rain On The Parade: Weeping guitar, smouldering stories: mixing again formality and rainy seediness
4 The ‘L’ Word: Alternate take sounds live, casually cool, Quine burns it down
5 A Long Way Down: Old New York, space, daylight, cruising drums, Lloyd on lead
6 Man On The Verge: Astor Place, D arpeggios, Quine blows the place apart again
7 Minor Character: Touchingly melodic drama: 1985 strings, histrionics, strain, 12-string, motion, closure
8 Alright People: Fresh picking, skyful of sound, guess what? Quine on fire
9 Shelf Life: Lengthy closer, hypnosis repetition riffs, piano echo, life’s time passes
10 Wild Orphan: Controlled verses, leaping choruses: Jodie Foster, twanging air, true joy

a sparkling new year to you all.

may we present round two of the non-2008-music-related top ten lists…

Top 10 Easy Pasta Dishes by stella marrs
Note: I do not give amounts- it’s cooking!
All start in a large cast iron pan. (Except #9)
For these recipes, the sautéing starts with a generous amount of the best olive oil. Sea salt, fresh ground pepper, organic pastas, fresh basil, and Romano or Parmesan cheese are the defaults for the most satisfying results.

1. The Syracuse. Caramelize onions, add can of whole tomatoes, add brown sugar- cook for many, many hours. Finish with garlic and fresh basil toward the end.
2. Fresh Roman. Mushrooms browned in olive oil. Thyme, garlic, parsley, pepper. Tossed into linguine with olive oil and lemon.
3. San Francisco. Sautéed garlic and bitter greens and hot pepper flakes, tossed with linguine and chopped anchovies. Splash of balsamic at the end.
4. Ancient Rome. Sauté red pepper flakes and garlic and breadcrumbs until golden. Toss with spaghetti.
5. Easy Italian. Sautéed garlic, red pepper flakes and broccolini. Add sliced black dried olive bits and lemon juice when tossing with the pasta.
6. The Olympian. Sauté tofu. Add a splash of soy sauce at the end and leave in pan on low. Add straight to the cooked linguine in this order and tossing after each addition: olive oil, sea salt, mustard, brewers yeast, and hot sauce. Top with the golden brown tofu.
7. The New Yorker. (Breakfast at midnight) Cook bacon and crumble it into a big bowl. Add several eggs, shakes of paprika, snips of parsley, lots of ground pepper. Add the just drained pasta and mix and toss, toss, toss. Extra cheese on this one.
8. The Portlander. Caramelize onions and red peppers and garlic. Add a well-rinsed can of white beans and basil and parsley. Finish with a splash of balsamic.
9. The Northwesterner.Cooked linguine gets coated with sour cream, capers, finely minced white part of the green onion, and smoked salmon.
10. The Buffalonian. Sauté garlic, onions, and sliced Italian sausage. Add a can of tomato sauce. Finish with oregano, basil and Franks! (A local hot sauce)

Top Ten things (in no particular order) that helped me survive 2008 by john woo / the magnetic fields
1. Nephews
2. Sigma DP1
3. Capilene
4. The Economist
5. Lonely Planet
6. Free Wi-fi
7. LIRR beach packages
8. Press 195’s pork sandwiches
9. Woorijip’s hot buffet
10. Earbuds in a pocket of every jacket I own

Top Ten Books About the Lost Generation (in no particular order), or, How I Spent 2008 by lisa “cf” levy
1. Malcolm, Janet. Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
Gertrude and Alice and Janet Malcolm and Nazis and the vagaries of Stein scholarship and the ABT Cookbook and those hints about S/M and odd Leo Stein and what it is like to be so convinced of your genius that nothing and no one can really touch you, and nothing really matters but the work. Could not be better.
2. Douglas, Ann. Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. New York: FSG, 1995.
One of the best histories ever written, Douglas covers New York in the 1920s with astonishing breadth while spinning a number of impressive thematic plates. She writes about jazz, Freud, Fitzgerald, anthropology, railroads, hardboiled fiction, advertising and photography with style and panache. A book study, to use, to be cowered by, and to emulate. The bibliographic essay alone is so good I weep. I tremble at the thought of her next book, about America in the Cold War (and her previous one, the Feminization of American Culture, which argues for the intellectual and spiritual collusion of the clergy and female authors in the 1890’s to remake gender roles, is also fantastic).
3. Wilson will write better books than Axel’s Castle: A Study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930 (1931. New York: FSG, 2004), but this is really the book that made him as a critic. Far from perfect, but brash and a nice reminder that even Bunny Wilson was once young.
4. Page, Tim, ed. The Diaries of Dawn Powell, 1931-1965. South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 1995.
She shoved herself into the Lost Generation photo in Esquire as a joke, but her diaries have the same sensibility as all the folks who were “there” (and were her pals later on anyway) with a lot more color. Also instructive to see how the other half lived–that is to say, a woman burdened by a loutish drunk husband and a son with Down’s Syndrome who really had to write for a living. Pair it with one of her novels for some levity–I love A Time To Be Born (1942), a parody of the life of Clare Booth Luce–or just admire her for doing what Dorothy Parker never could, just keep at it when all the odds were stacked against her.
5. Time for the hard stuff: ease into Stein with The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and then, only for the intrepid, get the Dalkey Archives The Making of Americans. Follow Malcolm’s lead and rip the book into portable pieces. Stein would have been delighted.
6. Your reward is a visit to the Fitzgerald’s. No biography is better than Scott on himself, so get thee a copy of The Crack-Up and ride the ride again. No one has written his own rise and fall any better—poignant, but honest. Nancy Milford’s Zelda is a landmark in feminist biography and it holds up damned well. Her character is as rich as any in biography before or since.
7. Now that you are in the party/crash mood, I highly recommend a whirl with Harry Crosby via Geoffrey Wolff’s brilliant Black Sun (Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby. 1976. New York: New York Review Books, 2003). It’s got everything–sex, drugs,suicide pacts, astrology, murder, jazz, gambling, shell shock, a burning hatred of Boston, whippets, and solid rants against previous theories about the era. You won’t be disappointed.
8. Next is an introduction to a couple of my favorite Lost Generation characters, Gerald and Sara Murphy. The first book, Calvin Tomkins’ Living Well Is the Best Revenge, an expansion of his New Yorker piece about them, is too slim and evasive.
9. It will leave you wanting more, and there are two easy ways to get it: one is Linda Miller’s Letters from the Lost Generation (Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends. Expanded Edition. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002), and the other is…
10. Deborah Rothschild’s essay collection assembled for the exhibit about the Murphy’s that travelled across the country in 2007, Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy. You will only regret that you live in a time where the dollar is weak, artists are so often silly, and style is something relegated to–sigh–magazines and the upper reaches of your digital channels, with the world “life” shoved ridiculously in front of it. Once upon a time style was a matter of some urgency, life (especially given the stakes of a war that was supposed to end all wars) was supposed to be lived to the hilt, and money was incidental, not the point of a day’s work but a byproduct of it. My wish for 2009–for all of us–would be to try and keep these ideas in our consciousness, if not as our goals.

Ten best lines from New Kids on the Block songs by emma straub
1. “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.”
2. (Heavy sigh)
3. (Softer sigh)
4. “(sigh) Sounds good to you, don’t it?”
5. “Huh!” (Accompanied by a pelvic thrust)
6. “Girl!”
7. “Ooh, girl!”
8. “Didn’t I blow your mind this time.” (Okay, fine, it was a cover.)
9. “We’re five bad brothers from the Beantown land.”
10. (Heavy breathing, due to dancing in unison.)

Family Movie Night in the Davol Household: 10 Most Recent Films Watched by sam davol / the magnetic fields
1. Home Movie (2002)
2. The Way Things Go (1987)
3. The Best of The Electric Company (1971)
4. The Films of Charles & Ray Eames: Powers of Ten (1977)
5. Wild Wheels (1992)
6. Top Hat (1935)
7. The Life of Birds (1998)
8. Creature Comforts: Season 1 (2004)
9. That’s Entertainment (1974)
10. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City (2001)

“With our tape recorders and our disheveled girl friends” (three lists by shawn belschwender)

Pre-Eliminator ZZ Top in order, from most awesome to least awesome
1. Tres Hombres (1973)
“Soundin’ a lot like they got House Congressional / ‘Cause we’re experimental and professional.” – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers. I thought this song was an ode to being a numbskull, until I Googled the lyrics. I’m not sure what “got House Congressional” sounds like, but “experimental and professional” exactly describes themselves.
2. Rio Grande Mud (1972)
This thing opens with an ode to a thirteen-year-old girl (“Francine”) which is only right in rock ‘n roll. It is wrong in every other context. This thing contains “Just Got Paid” and the instant good time that is “Bar-B-Q.”
3. ZZ Top’s First Album (1970)
“And soon we’ll be all breathin’ out of tanks
if somethin’ ain’t done about the squank.” – Squank
I can’t think about pollution without imagining it how they painted it so graphically, as monstrous “Squank.” So where’s their Nobel Prize? They wrote their own “Brown Sugar” that is pretty crazy-good. About a minute and forty seconds in, it kinda blows up and rolls over you. This album doesn’t have the hooks and the hits, but it’s hard rocking from end to end, with only “Old Man” as the speed-bump.
4. Fandango! (1975)
“Ladies and gents, the fantastic ZZ Top!” Every DJ set, mixed tape/CD and playlist should kick off with this sample from the live “Thunderbird” on this album. Why don’t yours?
5. El Loco (1981)
I enjoy the whipcracks during “Party on the Patio” and the space guitar solos throughout, and even some of the tiresome car/lady analogies (“I Wanna Drive You Home”) they’re partial too. But really, this thing is less like a collection of solid songs than a space guitar delivery system. Like boogie guitar solos NASA would produce. Try “Ten Foot Pole” if you don’t believe me. As everybody knows, NASA had a space center in Houston, so it all makes perfect sense.
6. Degüello (1979). This is better than Tejas, but it still kind of bores me. “I Thank You” is the best, “Manic Mechanic” the worst.
7. Tejas (1977)
The only Tejas I know is the one they remixed with the 1980s-era mechanical drum sound. And it doesn’t bother me. I mean, I guess they had to do something with this thing, although it’s not as terrible an album as I’d expected it would be. It’s actually not bad. “Ten Dollar Man” my fave track here. Oh, it’s probably to do with whores and pimps and brothels, you know.

The Best American Film Critics, in order of birth
1. Cecilia Ager (1902 – 1981). The only Ager I can find is contained in an anthology edited by Phillip Lopate, called American Movie Critics. I would love to read more. Wrote extremely witty short film reviews for PM, and entertainment pieces for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Described Joan Crawford in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney as having “deafening poise.”
2. Otis Ferguson (1907 – 1943). Wrote for the New Republic, was killed in WWII. See The Film Criticism of Otis Ferguson. “I never again expect to see so much ham crowded into one smokehouse…” – Ferguson on A Tale of Two Cities (1936). Wrote a great piece about the experience of attending a movie in the 1930s before start times were listed in the newspapers and everyone showed up whenever they just felt it, and climbed all over you to get to an empty seat. I would put Ferguson, Pauline Kael and William Pechter in my Big Three of favorite film critics.
3. James Agee (1909 – 1955). See Agee on Film.
4. Manny Farber (1917 – 2008)
“One of the desperate facts about being part of movies today is that every thirtieth word might be ‘Truffaut-Moreau-Godard,’ a depressing, chewed-over sound, and that a heavy segment of any day is consumed by an obsessive, nervous talking about film. This is often a joyless sound that couldn’t inspire anybody, but it suggests that modern moviegoers are trying to possess the film or at least give it a form or a momentousness which it doesn’t have.” Farber’s “Afterthoughts” on the 1968 New York Film Festival, describing a time long-gone. From a collection titled Negative Space. Was a painter, had painter’s eye; famously championed B-movie directors without being an auteur knucklehead.
5. Robert Warshow (1917 – 1955). The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture. Is good on Westerns, Gangster films, and Charlie Chaplin. Also, decimates Arthur Miller (The Crucible, Death of A Salesman).
6. Pauline Kael (1919 – 2001). Everything of hers is worth reading, even the collections of her work that cover movies in the 1980s. Don’t settle for that giant anthology. Hunt down all her collections. The best writer of this bunch.
7. William Pechter (b. 1936)
“Liza Minnelli, singing, is, not to put too fine a point on it, the ne plus ultra of tastelessness, a load of loud-mouthed showbiz schmaltz. Like her predecessors in the tradition, Minnelli isn’t a singer but a belter; she doesn’t sing a song, she sells it; and whenever she opens her mouth to sing, in Cabaret or out, it’s strictly Las Vegas. To say that a little of Garland (outside her movies) or Streisand or Minnelli sends me rushing for the antidote of some Irene Kral or Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday is unfairly to load the comparison; one need hardlly go to jazz to find a musical style and level of musicianship to use as a stick to beat Minnelli’s and Streisand’s with. The fact is their music is less musical than histrionic: every song becomes either a big, get-happy production number or a miniature tragedy. Nor is it a question of unfairly judging one style by the standards of another. The Garland-Streisand-Minnelli style, trading as is does in trumped-up emotions, is, in itself, an artistically corrupt one.” – 1972. There are two collections of his work, Movies Plus One and Twenty-Four Times A Second. My second favorite film critic, after Kael.

The three greatest non-fiction books in the world, according to me:
1. The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The “Red” volume. Depressing. Walks you through your arrest by the Cheka. For no reason at all, other than maybe you were ratted out by your neighbor while under torture, just to make the nut-stomping stop.
2. The Gulag Archipelago Volume 2, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The “Black” volume. “None blacker.” Volume 1 ends by warning that everything is about to get worse, and he’s not kidding! I had to put together a Marx Brothers film festival (staying roughly in the time period covered) to lift my spirits. Early Warner Brothers cartoons and Marx Brothers films: the only antidote to this crushing volume.
3. The Gulag Archipelago Volume 3, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Volume 3. The “White” volume. Thrilling, and yes, depressing. Describes revolts in the prisons of the Gulag, as well as escape attempts from them. Where could anybody escape to, in Soviet Russia? Nowhere, you coddled, candy-ass Westerner. Solzhenitsyn’ description of his exile, after 8 years in the Gulag, and the day, early in his exile, when they learned that Stalin died, are some of the best sections in all three volumes.

Some of my favorite quotes. As you can see, Gulag made him cranky!

“Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig”

“Both in the camps and in exile, whispered rumors of an amnesty flourished. People have a remarkable capacity for pig-headed credulity.”

Tape Recorders and Disheveled Girl Friends (!!!)
“The majority of young people could not care less whether we have been rehabilitated or not, whether 12 million people are still inside or are inside no longer; they do not see that it affects them. Just so long as they themselves are at liberty, with their tape recorders and their disheveled girl friends.”

“But then, only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.”

“A human being is all hope and impatience.”

Quoting I.S. Karpunich-Braven, a brigade commander in the civil war: “It is not enough to love mankind – you must be able to stand people.”

(dear readers, please post your lists in the comment box!)

the top ten lists.

we are a little tired of the top 50 albums, top 20 singles, top readers polls, critics polls blah blah blah this year — they are all the effing same! so here is round one of our non-2008-music-related lists…enjoy…

Top ten male vocalists who can melt the heart by the legendary jim ruiz
1. Marcos Valle
2. Louis Armstrong
3. Keith Girdler
4. Joao Gilberto
5. Ibrahim Ferrer
6. Dandy Livingstone
7. Georgie Fame
8. Edwyn Collins
9. Chet Baker
10. Pierre Barouh

Ten reasons to love/obsess over/stalk Peter Sarsgaard by Uncle LD
10. – 2. Smart, handsome, talented, funny, quirky, great voice, versatile, personable and has an excellent beard.
1. He’s heterosexual, and thus unavailable — and thus infinitely desirable.

The Ten Songs I Listen To Least, Not Including Songs I’ve Never Listened To, According To My I-Tunes by Daniel Handler
1. ZZ Top, “Planet Of Women” from Greatest Hits
2. Zheng Yingsun, “The Empress’s Lament” from Lost Sounds Of The Tao: Chinese Masters of the Guqin
3. Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra, “Puddy Cat Trouble Pt. 6,” from The Carl Stalling Project
4. The Shangri-Las, “Radio Spot #1: How Pretty Can You Get?” from Myrmidons Of Melodrama
5. Louis Armstrong, “Pause Track,” from The Complete Hot Five & Seven Recordings, Disc Three
6. Eric Serra, “Whispering Statues,” from Goldeneye Original Soundtrack
7. Zeena Parkins, “Acoustic and Electric Harps,” from 100 Of The World’s Most Beautiful Melodies
8. Michael Tenzer, “Situ Banda,” from American Works For Balinese Gamelan
9. Lo Pa King, “The Lonely Teal,” from Lost Sounds Of The Tao: Chinese Masters of the Guqin
10. Limahl, “Never Ending Story,” from Living In Oblivion Vol. 2

Bob Stanley’s siesta-themed playlist
1. Love Letters – Ketty Lester
2. Wondrous Place – Billy Fury
3. He Noticed Me – Priscilla Paris
4. Missin’ My Baby – Clydie King
5. All I Wanna Do (from Sunflower, not 20/20)- The Beach Boys
6. Try – John Barry
7. Chanson d’O – Francoise Hardy
8. Sara – Fleetwood Mac
9. Oh My Love – John Lennon
10. Amore Come Dolore – Ennio Morricone

favourite cemeteries of 2008 by stephen coates / the real tuesday weld
1. nunhead (london)
2. pere le chaise (paris)
3. bunhill fields (london)
4. highgate (london)
5. montmartre (paris)
6. allied war grave (meuse argonne)
7. abney park (london)
8. postman’s park (london)
9. mausoleum of augustus (rome)
10. catacombs (paris)

Ten comics that I will always buy to give to friends when I find them in a bargain bin by clarissa cf
1. Amy Unbounded
2. Clan Apis
3. Tales of the Beanworld
4. Zot!
5. The first dozen issues of Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 4
6. The issue of Batman Adventures whose plot revolves around Batman never having seen “In the Realm of the Senses”
7. Finder
8. Journey
9. Muktuk Wolfsbreath, Hard-Boiled Shaman
10. The Brendan McCarthy issue of Solo

Ten best bread-based snacks by lauren cf
1. plum tomato, avocado, and torn basil with ground black pepper on crusty
white bread
2. poached salmon and horseradish on grainy brown bread
3. hot white bread toast with lots of butter
4. vintage cheddar (irish) with branston pickle on french bread
5. manchego with quince on walnut bread
6. hummous and roasted red pepper in a ciabatta
7. crayfish, rocket, mayo and lemon juice on whole meal bread
8. gentleman’s relish on cold brown toast
9. feta, black olive and marinated artichoke hearts tomato on toasted ciabatta
10. smoked salmon with ground black pepper, lemon juice and cream cheese in
a plain bagel

favorite songs in 2008 that were not from 2008 by james mcnew / yo la tengo/dump
1. “depression,” black flag
2. “b.y.s.,” gang starr
3. “jeffrey i hear you,” the girls
4. “who am i today,” yura yura teikoku
5. “enter the mirror,” les rallizes desnudes
6. “i’ll bet you,” billy butler
7. “daniel,” tortoise & bonnie prince billy
8. “girls in their summer clothes,” bruce springsteen
9. “ah! melody,” serge gainsbourg
10. “everything flows,” teenage fanclub

the unlikely heroes crush list 2008 by gail cf
1. just like the rest of america, I cannot get enough of dr. gregory house as played by hugh laurie. he is such a jerk but you gotta love him. unlike the rest of america, I’ve seen him in his earlier work (like jeeves & wooster, where he is very funny but infinitely less crushworthy). at the moment dr house is tied with captain von trapp, my other new/old crush.
2. I don’t even remember what I’ve seen adam arkin in that got me all excited. northern exposure? perhaps. chicago hope? maybe. tv is all well and good but he’s going to waste in these small endeavors. why can’t he be a leading man for once? just look at that salt and pepper hair.
3. chris eigeman, once celebrated as the steve malkmus of whit stillman films, went missing around the same time that whit stillman did. he resurfaced on the gilmore girls (another reason to love those girls) but where is he now? someone give the man some proper work!
4. c.k. dexter haven, as played by cary grant in the philadelphia story, is very badly behaved yet you root for him. the movie’s message wouldn’t fly in this day and age but he is still more fun to watch than any of today’s romantic leads.
5. joel mccrea may have starred in many westerns over many decades, but it’s the preston sturges movies that I love. go buy the box set or at least rent sullivan’s travels.
6. okay, stop laughing. yes, topher grace did star on that 70s show, but he is destined for much greater roles. I hope! I think he has something there.
7. I got hooked on bbc productions of various classics whilst living in london and one person who stood out is the so-manly-it’s-scary actor richard armitage, who is particularly good and manly in the recent-ish robin hood among other period dramas, where he is usually dark, brooding and misunderstood.
8. matthew slaughter was my favorite character played by hal hartley mainstay martin donovan. I even got to interview marty d once when I worked for timeout newyork and he was starting a new tv show. but where has he gone? where have all the indie films like trust gone? I miss them.
9. richard jenkins played the dead, dysfunctional father on six feet under, but I barely noticed because I was too busy staring at peter krause. now krause is on a silly tv show and jenkins starred in the visitor, the film of the year or at least the american film of the year. see it.
10. I did not approve of alec baldwin’s embarrassing phone message to his daughter that got him in trouble a while back, but I believe he has tortured himself sufficiently over it (see his new yorker profile) — and plus, he has just been so damn funny on 30 rock that I forgave him. he never floated my boat back when he was younger but he even looks cute puffy (just like james spader looks cute and puffy these days). of course I wish tina fey and I were friends (tina please hire me!), but the 30 rock cast member that I actually do/did/would run into is the trucker-cap-sporting judah friedlander, who I recently waited for the toilet with at angelica kitchen. I bet he goes to max fish.

Top Reasons I Hit The Snooze Button Every Morning by kendall jane meade / mascott
1. Just five more minutes
2. Late night mindless cable watching
3. I’ll just go to the gym after work
4. Just ten more minutes
5. Attempt at creative visualization
6. Attempt at re-entering really good dream
7. Beauty Sleep
8. Late night mindless facebook crap
9. Horrible Duane Reade-bought alarm sound
10. Just 15 more minutes

Top Ten Bedridden Fictional Characters… by Dickon Edwards
1. Colin in The Secret Garden (who is much more like me than the Dickon in the book)
2. Charlie’s three other grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
3. Michael Gambon’s character in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective
4. Michael Gambon’s character in Stephen Poliakoff’s Perfect Strangers.
5. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando – who goes to bed for so long he changes into a woman.
6. Julianne Moore in The Hours – who dreams of drowning in bed after reading a book by the above Ms Woolf.
7. Angela Lansbury and her NON-drowning underwater bed in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
8. Johnny Depp eaten by an unkind mattress in Nightmare on Elm Street
9. Lyta Hall in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, off to kill Dream in her dreams.
10. David Tennant’s Doctor in ‘Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion’, saving the world with a satsuma in his pyjamas.

Ten best places to eat in Oxford by peter momtchiloff / the would-be-goods, scarlet’s well, les clochards
1. Al-Shami (Lebanese)
2. Carne (Brazilian)
3. Al-Andalus (tapas)
4. Liaison (Chinese)
5. Branca (Mediterranean)
6. Chiang Mai (Thai)
7. Red Star (noodles)
8. La Cucina (Italian)
9. Edamame (Japanese)
10. Dildunia (Indian)

Ten best things about the movie ‘Twilight’ by emma straub
1. Robert Pattinson’s gravity-defying hair.
2. Catherine Hardwicke’s creepily good eye for teenage misery.
3. Casual reference to Debussy.
4. The hot teenage vampire drives a Volvo.
5. She’s still a virgin at the end, and totally pissed about it.
6. Robert Pattinson’s completely bizarre American accent, which is neither Pacific Northwest nor anywhere else.
7. Vampires turn into glitter in the sun?
8. Mom ran off with a minor league baseball player. Really?
9. The mean vampire is also the bad seed from ‘The O.C.’, another world I loved that made little sense in its final moments.
10. Werewolves coming up next!

Ten best secret pie ingredients by candice pedersen
1. Graham cracker crumbs (crust)
2. Nutmeg for (savory pies)
3. Vodka (crust)
4. Crystalized ginger (fruit pies)
5. Orange zest (fruit pies)
6. Apple cider (apple pie)
7. Animal crackers (crust)
8. Sherry (savory pies)
9. Grated Granny Smith apple (blueberry pie)
10. King Arthur flours

chickfactor top ten holiday records.

it’s the time of year when, as crazy old phil spector goes back to his murder trial with yet another crazy hairstyle, we should remember the absolute genius of the man. I don’t know why but this year I have been infected with holiday spirit and here’s my playlist that keeps me sane while I pour the soy eggnog over the maker’s mark — yum.

1. a christmas gift for you from phil spector. highlights: ‘marshmallow world’ and ‘christmas (baby please come home)’ by darlene love. buy it here
2. vince guaraldi trio, a charlie brown christmas. I went to a real-life christmas pageant last week and it was amazingly reminiscent of this classic jazzy collection.
3. the pogues and kirsty maccoll, ‘fairy tale of new york’. living in the UK, one hears this song over the holidays hundreds of times, in pubs, in shops, on tv, etc. drunk brits select the track at karaoke following falling-down-drunk xmas lunches. good old shane used to be my neighbor in london, and kirsty (rest in peace) was one of my favorite lady songwriters ever. be like a proper brit and learn the lyrics and sing along or watch it here.
4. pytor illych tchaikovsky: the nutcracker suite. nothing says magic like the dance of the sugarplum fairies. if you have a chance to go to the ballet, oh do.
5. the pines, christmas EP, especially ‘chalet’ and ‘high street’. southeast london’s brightest folk-pop stars made an EP that really should have topped the billboard charts, if people weren’t stupidly buying other dumb things like *christmas with toby keith*, or *shania twain sings the holiday classics* or *hannah montana: what a dork*. hear it here, here and here.
6. the flaming lips, ‘white christmas’. just like wayne coyne himself, this version is warped, whimsical and wonderful. the only band that’s ever mattered from oklahoma city has also made their own kooky holiday film: buy their christmas on mars DVD here.
7. low, ‘just like christmas’. the first time I saw low, I had to walk through like three feet of snow to get there and when I did get there, the poor dears had just driven 17 hours to get to nyc and there were just three of us in the audience (and one was their then-A&R woman). they are a very wintery band indeed! here’s a lovely track.
8. jens lekman, ‘maple leaves’. it’s not a christmas song you say? but surely it almost is.
9. aztec camera, ‘walk out to winter’. our man roddy — he used to be so great.
10. robert gordon or elvis presley, ‘blue christmas’. here is elvis singing the holiday classic. I kind of prefer robert gordon’s — he’s a classic rockabilly dude I used to see tons when I was small.
runners up:
11. kiki & herb, do you hear what we hear? if you can track down the xmas song stephin merritt wrote for them, hear it. best idea: go see kiki & herb (oh, wait, did they split up?) at xmastime, preferably not at a big fancy venue like queen elizabeth hall but a cozy place like fez. oh, that used to cheer me up.
12. vashti bunyan, winter is blue.
okay people, tell me what I forgot! what are your faves?

fairytale of new york

the editor was out at one of the umpteen gazillion pubs in london called the red lion just the other night trying to wrestle the (karaoke) mike away from some of her happy coworkers. between karaoke numbers—oh boy was it a rough night between the shania twain and the grease soundtrack—the xmas classic fairytale of new york came on. some weird photographer guy screamed at me: ‘this is like the best christmas song EVER!!!!!!’ and I said, I think you may be right!

this is relevant because A. shane macgowan lives up the street from me! but I never see him. I guess I will have to hang out at the cheesy bar he lives atop. B. kirsty maccoll died 5 years ago this week. her killer was never charged. her mother is leading a campaign to try to get some justice for the family:

I adored kirsty and everyone should go buy her records anyway. I plan to have a kirsty tribute this year on 10 october 06, venue tbc. C. it’s hard to believe we ever get any news at all here in london that is both music related and not about pete babyshambles, but in fact this week the bbc reported that ‘fairytale’ is actually not just my fave but everyone’s. okay, so that is ace.

but what the hell about the people’s other 9 favourite holiday tracks? yeeikes! wizzard? mariah!? mud? have these people never heard ‘marshmallow world’ or ‘baby please come home’ by darlene love? please kids, weigh in with your faves if you have any. of course I adore the pines, vince guaraldi, and there’s one I rediscovered by saint etienne just this week called ‘snow’ that breaks my heart.

Top 10 Christmas Songs
1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues/ Kirsty MacColl
2. All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
3. Last Christmas – Wham!
4. Mistletoe and Wine – Sir Cliff Richard
5. Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
6. I Wish it could be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
7. Christmas Time – The Darkness
8. Saviour’s Day – Sir Cliff Richard
9. Do They Know it’s Christmas (1984) – Band Aid
10. Lonely This Christmas – Mud