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For me, "Dirty Old Town" will always be a song about Birmingham, Alabama, even if Birmingham, Alabama has no docks and no canals. Otherwise, the song is a dead ringer for the Birmingham I fell in love with. Of course, most people think it's a song about Dublin, Ireland, because of the Pogues' version. In truth, though, it's a song Ewan MacColl wrote in 1949 about Salford, England. The song also works quite well, I was pleased to discover, for Providence.

Here, it's cloudy and 34˚F, with the windchill at 27˚F. In Birmingham, it's 45˚F, with light rain. In Dublin, it's 46˚F and partly cloudy. In Salford, it's 43˚F and cloudy. There's a nice symmetry there, don't you think?

Yesterday, I spent the entire day working on "Tupelo (1998), me and Spooky proofreading and correcting. Then, after dinner I went back to work on it and didn't stop until 9:24 p.m. I still have three or four quick fixes. Then I'll spend the rest of the day pulling together the digest, which I hope subscribers will have in their inboxes by tomorrow afternoon. And again, apologies for being a few days late on this issue. I've never before had to wrangle a whole novella for the digest.

Last last, we watched a truly terrifying episode of American Experience on the 1980 Damascus Titan missile explosion.

This morning there was a marvelous dream of discovering tiny archaeocete whale skeletons, no larger than the skeletons of squirrels. The skulls fit in the palm of my hand.

Oh, and last night, I paused in my work on "Tupelo (1998)" to post the following to Facebook:

There are so many turns of phrase that had meaning when I started writing that have become meaningless or nearly so. For example, "the green of Coca-Cola bottles." When I was in my twenties, everyone knew what that meant. That precise shade of green. Now, most folks get their Coke from clear plastic bottles, not that beautiful green glass.





(You can call that phone number if you want, but it hasn't been in service for at least a year.)

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 1 comment — Have your say! )
sovay
Feb. 5th, 2017 08:56 pm (UTC)
For me, "Dirty Old Town" will always be a song about Birmingham, Alabama, even if Birmingham, Alabama has no docks and no canals.

I think it is very important, the way songs can do that.

The song also works quite well, I was pleased to discover, for Providence.

Which even has canals!

(I've never actually heard the Pogues' version. I grew up on Ewan MacColl. John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats also covered it at one point.)

This morning there was a marvelous dream of discovering tiny archaeocete whale skeletons, no larger than the skeletons of squirrels. The skulls fit in the palm of my hand.

That's lovely.

I know the color of Coca-Cola bottles. It's very strange to imagine it passing out of the language. I hope you keep using it as a descriptor; it's a way of keeping the color from being lost.
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