July 13, 2006

Clicking the Night Away

I suppose it's a chain of association that could only happen in the age of the internets: cultural-political journalist Reihan Salam discovers the Kinks through reading King Dork, which was recommended to him by someone who noticed the title on the "what customers ultimately buy" section of the Amazon page for Ramesh Ponnuru's "culture of life" polemic The Party of Death. (How on earth my book ended up there, allegedly purchased by 43% of those who bought something after looking at the Party of Death page - if I have that right - remains a mystery.)

In a sort of virtual, internetty way, Reihan Salam and I go way back. I've enjoyed his writing in the New Republic and on the American Scene blog for years. (His name will also be familiar to readers of Andrew Sullivan's blog, as he's the letters editor.) So it's kind of cool to discover that he has read and liked my book. And that he's listening to the Kinks, because everybody probably should be. (I doubt "Come Dancing" is on too many A-lists out there, but it is a fine song. I mean, everything can't be "Waterloo Sunset.")

As Reihan says, if there is a an all-powerful, Destiny-controlling Being who set this whole thing up, He must have a lot of Time on His hands.

Posted by Dr. Frank at July 13, 2006 05:19 PM | TrackBack

Alright, so I've gotten "Village Green" and "Arthur" since reading King Dork. Both couldn't be better. Is there a certain 3rd I should be purchasing next?

Posted by: Kevin at July 13, 2006 11:02 PM

"Face to Face" is sort of the link between the Raunchy "You Really Got Me" R&B Kinks and the mid-late 60s Kinks... fucking great album... and after that came "Something Else" which you'd probably really like if you dig "Arthur" and "Village Green"

Posted by: Chach at July 14, 2006 01:05 AM

I agree absolutely, Chach. Just think about the following run of albums: Kinks Kontroversy, Face to Face, Something Else, TVGPS, Arthur, Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, and Muswell Hilbillies.

And anyone who loves the Kinks should go see this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbS4HPmF_0E over on youtube -- a full version (in 5 parts) of Grenada tv's live production of "Soap Opera." Charming, wonderful, and bizarre.

Posted by: Nick at July 14, 2006 07:24 PM

I wish your book go me into the Kinks. I'd love to hear them for the first time again.

Posted by: Amy 80 at July 14, 2006 10:22 PM

At the bookstore I work at, I've actually put up a little placard that states "If you like The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, then try Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One." I don't think anyone's taken me up on it yet, but by gum, I swear the shared ethos is there.

Posted by: dot dot dot at July 15, 2006 09:48 AM

i've always loved the Kinks, but I find that the older I get, the more powerful Ray Davies' songwriting becomes to me. Maybe it's because I become less interested in cynicism, and more touched by sentiment and real emotion, as I grow older. "Muswell Hillbillies" might be one of the ten best albums ever, and there's at least three other kinks entries on that list.

"Oklahoma, USA" brings me to the verge of tears everytime it hear it. Seventeen lines that paint such a complete picture that you can see the images unfold in your head like a film. So much is communicated with so few words- the mark of a great writer.

All life we work but work is a bore,
If life's for livin' what's livin' for,
She lives in a house that's near decay,
Built for the industrial revolution,
But in her dreams she is far away,
In Oklahoma U.S.A.
With Shirley Jones and Gordon McRea,
As she buys her paper at the corner shop,
She's walkin' on the surrey with the fringe on top,
Cos in her dreams she is far away,
In Oklahoma U.S.A.,
She walks to work but she's still in a daze,
She's Rita Hayworth or Doris Day,
And Errol Flynn's gonna take her away,
To Oklahoma U.S.A.,
All life we work but work is a bore,
If life's for livin' then what's livin' for.

Posted by: COOP at July 18, 2006 09:37 PM

"Misfits". Loved that album.

Posted by: David Fleck at July 21, 2006 01:35 PM