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Snow reading

Posted: January 31st, 2003, by Dave Stockwell

I don’t know what the weather is like near you, but hopefully you’re reading this a long way from the south-east of England. Yesterday, a journey that normally takes me barely the length of Lightning Bolt‘s Fleeing the Valley of Whirling Knives (about ten minutes for those of you not fortunate enough to have heard such a marvel) instead took me approximately 2.5 hours by car, and another 60 minutes on foot – once said vehicle had been abandoned in a nearby Bat-cave.

But no matter! For such times are to be treasured. Cooped up behind a windscreen bearing the brunt of 8 inches of snow that was being hand delivered by gales, I was able to curl up (as much as you can whilst behind the wheel of an automobile) with a remarkable book translated into English from Japanese a couple of years ago. It was called Asleep by one Banana Yoshimoto. Three short stories with thematic links of epiphanies that sleep can deliver and take away, it was a book I had picked up in my local library because it had a nice cover. It also reminded me of an old friend from Singapore who would insist on calling herself ‘Banana,’ because her first language was English. Though we always did our best to placate and cajole her at these times, all our efforts to assuage her ego would always be in vain – her confusion about her cultural identity had long ago created a vicious circle of self-loathing which we could never break. The sadder, more tender moments of this book frequently reminded me of her, and brought out some dusty nostalgia within me.

During this time, I was able to enjoy uninterrupted two Leonard Cohen albums, and a preview of Reynolds’ Love Songs, whilst yearning for a camera to record the finer moments of a day that surely won’t be repeated any day soon.

Eventually, cabin fever broke my spirit, and I soon found myself wandering home through the gridlock, listening to Spiderland, and helping out the odd driver suffering from that lethal combination of icy slopes and useless clutch control. Finally, about five minutes away from home, I threw myself into a ditch of deep unspoilt snow. Though my journey had left me largely dry and warm, it had to be done.This truly is the stuff Douglas Coupland short stories used to be made of. (Whilst in the library, I also picked up a copy of possibly his finest hour Girlfriend In A Coma, for the grand total of 20 pence. The first person to email me can have it, if they feel they’re suitably deserving.)

Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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