Tuesday, August 30, 2005
innocence and despair: a story about tedward
today's first shuffle song on ipod: "To Know Him Is To Love Him" - The Langley Schools Music Project, from Innocence & Despair
i first heard about this album in an "outsider music" article published in 2001 in the new york times magazine - the shaggs, daniel johnston, etc. the short version of this album's story is that a hippie teacher in rural canada in the 70s brought a 4-track into the school gym, taught his students (elementary age) how to play instruments, and had them sing their favorite pop songs. the sessions were pressed into records for the kids to have as keepsakes and everyone forgot about it until recently, when they released it as a re-packaged oddity album. i know it sounds precious and lame, but there is something really funny - and spooky - about 20 children singing "a space oddity" and "sweet caroline" while banging away on drums and playing recorders and missing their cues. the album is called innocence and despair because, the cd booklet drones on about, the children selected these songs that are both sweet and oddly sad - the beach boys' "god only knows" changes meaning when it's a bunch of kids who are so earnest and off-key. oh, and the cymbals on "i get around" are fucking funny.
i bought this cd at a smartypants bookstore in dc called politics and prose. there was a guy named cleve that worked there that i was totally in lerve with (from afar, which is only appropriate when you have a crush on the bookstore guy). politics and prose always had amazing author readings - i saw irvine welsh with like 20 other people (he could have read the phonebook and i would have listened with rapt attention, his accent was so awesome), i got to talk to margaret atwood and robin morgan and david rees. one of the best events was when caroline kennedy's book (some cash-in collection of her mother's favorite poems) came out and so she, her crazed aunt eunice shriver (maria's mom) and her uncle ted read some old poems that they love: ted did longfellow's "paul revere's ride" in his booming bostonian voice. this sighting in and of itself was purely dc and one of the reasons i thoroughly enjoyed living there - the easy access to such randomness. but that's not my best ted kennedy moment. that goes something like this:
my bff ag is a lesbo but she chooses a new fiscal year boyfriend every summer. in 2004 it was ted kennedy (or tedward, as we call him) and she was coming to visit me before i moved to chicago. we had all sorts of jokes about how we were going to stalk him and he was going to drive us around (and into the potomac). the second day she was in town we did some touristy shit on the hill and we found his office in the longworth building and walked by slowly, admiring the warhol (of himself - i'm sorry, but that's so badass) on the wall. we went out in front of the longworth and smoked some cigs and heard dogs barking and we were like "it would be awesome if tedward came out front and bummed a smoke" and "it would be awesome if those were tedward's dogs. i'd be all like, 'c'mere, sparkles!'" so we decided to cut through a park next to the longworth and, yes, there was tedward, in his white-mop-headed glory, two adorable dogs running around. he was in better shape than he had been in a while, but he was still kinda busted, and dude was using a tennis racket to scoop dog shit into a plastic bag. we totally bothered him, pet his dogs, said "senator kennedy" before every sentence ("senator kennedy, it's so nice to meet you," "senator kennedy, i like your dogs"). he seemed a little embarrassed to be caught picking up dog shit (with a tennis racket) - he was like "yes, yes, just walkin my dogs. doin my duty" (subtext: please go away).
we later cyberstalked and read that they are portugese water dogs named splash and sunny (i had a near-psychic experience when i determined that his dog was named sparkles). last april, when in town for my job's lobbying day, i saw some 24-year-old kid in a nice suit walking the dogs in the longworth park and i walked up to him and said "are those senator kennedy's dogs?" and then pet them while calling them by name. he just looked at me like who the fuck are you? sucks to move to dc to work for the most famous democrat in town and you end up on dog shit detail.