Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The wrap says watch your step

Sleep, Grantland, work, digital ghosts, Tower Records, rappers selling CDs, Ugg boots, desert boots, marathons and much more

Darkness on the edge of town: Tower Records

Tue, Nov 3, 2015, 10:21


(1) It’s not just the Abbey Theatre which is getting stick for its anti-women stance when it comes to plays on stages for 2016: DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs’ list is also getting a poke and a prodding for a low showing of female DJs in its ranks. Perhaps, suggests DJ magazine editor Carl Loben, the problem is to do with the inherent sexism of the entire dance music industry?

(2) How did you sleep last night? Philip Sherburne considers the history of music designed to make you fall alseep: “why all this attention to tuning in and passing out, and why now? What does the resurgence in sleep music say about the way we listen, and the way we live?” Meanwhile, Nialler9 draws up a three hour set of ambient, nocturnal bliss.

(3) More on the condundrums of modern life: David Emery’s fine piece about when drive and passion for your job begins to take over the rest of your life. He’s writing about working in the music business but, really, this applies to all sectors. “I think there’s a common mistake to perceive commitment as the same as drive and passion. Drive and passion, the idea that you care about what you are working on and want to make it successful, is key to what makes the whole thing “tick”. No one would work in music otherwise. But this is not the same as blind commitment; working longer hours, going to more gigs, taking on more projects. Letting your job take over your life.”

(4) Spooky: “a kind of modern-day poltergeist story, starring two frightened victims and a shapeless, mysterious digital ghost they can’t see, touch, or respond to in any way.”

(5) The list of documentaries about record shops has a new entry in the form of All Things Must Pass, Colin Hanks’ film about Russ Solomon and Tower Records. Here’s an interview with Solomon about his life in retail and the film. Meanwhile, the noble art of rappers selling CDs on the street – as seen in an episode of the fantastic Mr Robot – gets the once-over.

(6) Superb reporting by Brian Blickenstaff in a tale of how a match involving AFC Hornchurch, a club then playing in England’s Conference South division, set alarm bells ringing about an international match-fixing ring.

(7) Right foot: how a bored accountant helped to turn sheepskin-lined Australian surfer boots into the all-conquering Ugg phenomenon. Left foot: the story of reggae’s love affair with Clarks desert boot.

(8) More feet: “the most spectacular foot race that New York has ever witnessed” or how the Big Apple turned the marathon into the modern city spectacle is is today. Contains fantastic characters like Thomas Hicks who relied on “a mid-race cocktail of brandy, egg whites, and rat poison” to win one race and Irish-American runner Johnny Hayes who trained on Bloomingdale’s old rooftop cinder track at night.

(9) Bin it: “the average American produces more than four pounds of trash and recyclables per day, about 1,500 pounds per year. In my first year of living trash- and recycling-free, I produced a little more than seven and a half pounds of waste, including receipts and miscellaneous paper, a couple of Ruffles chips bags and a few straws, stickers off fruit, glass milk-bottle caps, a broken Pyrex dish, a broken milk bottle, one beer bottle and one plastic bottle. In year two, I made it down to six pounds — about 0.4 percent of the American average”

(10) We bid a sad farewell to the peerless Grantland, one of the finest online repositories of great yarns on sport and pop culture which has been 86′d by its owners ESPN. We raise a glass to all who wrote for it with these highlights from the back-pages: Jonathan Abrams recalls a crazy night at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan during a 2004 basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons; the fascinating oral history of America’s first national sports paper The National Sports Daily as put together by Alex French and Howie Kahn and inside the Wu with Amos Barshad.