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Belle Waring

New DJ Earworm

by Belle Waring on September 14, 2017

DJ Earworm’s Summermash was an unusually weak outing, partly because it’s slow, and rebooted innocent Miley is boring, and other problems. But this Radio City Liverpool mashup is great; it’s the thing I always want him to do, namely mash up things from different years. Now if he would only mash up actually good songs that never crack the top 50 my life would be more complete, because he is like an painter given a child’s crappy watercolor kit with one of those plastic brushes with horrible stiff bristles that go in all directions, and told to paint something awesome. And he paints pretty great stuff! But what if we gave him some Mountain Goats and Janelle Monáe and stuff?!

Post Script: Ed Sheeran is the actual worst what is the deal.

R U Sure Tho?

by Belle Waring on September 11, 2017

This seems to violate the Belle Waring unitary theory of American politics. Kevin Drum proposes that “racism is not the explanation for everything Republicans do.” I grant that they want to cut taxes on the super-rich, but this is specifically with reference to Trump’s birtherism as well as Republicans’ refusal to accept Obama as a legitimate president (remember how he only got to serve 3/5 of a term when it came to nominating SC judges?). Ummm. Let’s just say I side with Marcotte in this dispute.

Happy Hari Raya Haji

by Belle Waring on September 1, 2017

Happy Hari Raya Haji/Eid al-Adha to all our Muslim readers! I live very near a huge mosque, and all the parking in the opposite lot is taken up, and all the street signs are full of locked bicycles, and the sidewalk is bordered with scores of scooters and motorcycles, and you can hear the call to prayer for a change. Normally Singapore more or less mutes it in the name of religious harmony—that is to say they forbid loudspeakers so the muezzin is singing alone, and so desperately quiet over the traffic noise and the inevitable jackhammering going on in Singapore at all times. The Indian ceremonies in which someone is blowing on a conch is frankly louder, and don’t get me started on drumming in Chinese temples or lion dances at CNY. I feel as if the men with the white caps that indicate they have been on the hajj have a little swagger today. Today on my hike I noticed the other men have generally worn embroidered and beaded black caps to keep up appearances. For those of you who don’t know, the feast celebrates both the ending of the hajj and the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail. Ibrahim and Ismail are said to have made the Kaaba later at the source of the miraculous spring which appeared when the earth was struck by the angel Jibra’il (or alternately much earlier where Hagar collapsed in prayer after wandering, in the hopes of saving her child from death from lack of water). It’s called the Zamzam Well, which is literally the coolest name ever. The day includes the sacrifice of a big valuable animal which is divided for a ritual feast, in commemoration of the ram substituted for Ismail. Lots of the many Singaporean Muslims with family in Malaysia travel there for the feast, where the cows or sheep or goats are more easily available (though of course they are shipped into mosques here.) People raise funds for charity also. Anyway, happy day!

What Music Are You listening to This Week

by Belle Waring on August 29, 2017

The recurring series that’s actually pretty popular, dammit. Also I get sweet music recs every time. Otpup pointed out that the new LCD Soundsystem is great, and although they have only released three of the songs off the new album, I have been listening to them on repeat as I do my morning 1-hour hike that I do before the sun comes up because I am a person of unusual virtue and my life has changed and now I am up from the front end instead of from the other end if you see what I mean. Also it’s really hot when the sun comes up in Singapore. Of course, it’s so muggy before the sun comes up that I come home in a lather of sweat anyway, but hey. I see lots of old people doing tai chi in the park, and occasionally monkeys. Not doing tai chi, as far as I can tell. Otpup posted “Call The Police”, so here’s “Tonite.”

I’m not 1000% sold on The War on Drugs, but I’m warming up to it. And this song is great. Damn this dude must do a good Dylan cover though.

This is one of my favorite songs from The Clash’s Sandinista:

It’s strange in a way how like this the towers of Singapores HDB blocks look, in huge clusters, but neatly painted with graded hues on the brick ends, some blues, some reds, some yellows, all planted around with tidy gardens, all surrounded with new cars.
My Neighbors
Sorry, there were much better photos but they maxed out the side of the blog. Anyway, this is in my neighborhood, so there’s that.

I have the Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox that appears in the video at 4:17 and carried it as a purse for a number of years, a choice I now regard as dubious.

Is there a name for the songwriting device of setting up an obvious rhyme and then not using it? Pavement is particularly inclined to this but there’s an example in LCD Soundsystem’s “Tonite” also:

Sure enemies haunt you with spit and derision
But friends are the ones who can put you in exile

You are expecting “prison” at that point, oder?

What Music Are You Listening To This Week?

by Belle Waring on August 22, 2017

In my last music post commenter Fats Durston recommended the Weakerthans “Plea From a Cat Named Virtue,” and it is totally awesome. Thanks, bro!

“I’m tired of this piece of string.”
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sometimes do a The Smiths thing, but here I would say it’s more about The Only Ones. Or a combo? His voice is very like Peter Perett’s.

Sometimes I feel like bustin’ loose with Chuck Brown, Godfather of Go-Go.

Car Seat Headrest’s releae from earlier this year is still rocking me all the time, and further proves that literally anything can be a band name. Like, anything. (Plus fan-made video!) I feel that the outro is very early Brian Eno. Best quote “last week I took acid and mushrooms/I did not transcend, I felt like a walking piece of shit/in a stupid-looking jacket.” #relatable

What about y’all? You always have amazing suggestions and I listen to them all.
UPDATE: German punk band Slime’s “Viva La Muerte” is about the conquest of the Americas and it is so good.

Although maybe this anti-fascist song is more appropriate to the moment:

Profiles in Courageosity

by Belle Waring on August 14, 2017

I’m glad the president has finally been pressured to be as tough on actual Nazis as he’s been on Nordstrom Rack.

Bandwagonesque-esque

by Belle Waring on August 8, 2017

Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard released a kind of weird yet good? new album. “Oho so what!” you say. “I’ve always been meh on Death Cab For Cutie, Belle Waring, I’ll have you know.” I wish you would let me finish what I’m saying, ever! I agree. Anyway, it’s a song for song cover of Teenage Fanclub’s 1991 Bandwagonesque. This is cool as a concept album theme, and I have a soft spot for concept albums. Also, Bandwagonesque is a sublime album whose Big Star greatness was lost in the decade’s welter of grunge, so, why not cover it in its entirety? Gibbard put it this way to NPR:

“Bandwagonesque is my favorite record by my favorite band of all time,” Gibbard writes via email. “It came along at a pivotal time in my musical life, and I’ve loved it for over 25 years. It’s been such a blast taking these songs apart to see how they work and then putting them back together again.”

This is worthy-sounding but the weird thing is that he put them back together just the way they were put together in the first place. I mean, maybe there should have been new dovetail joints, or different instruments, or that part at the end of “What You Do To Me” where it fades out seconds before the end and then comes back could have been altered fractionally? The song which is changed the most is the opener “The Concept”, which he extended and made more shimmery and it is indeed a legit good cover.

However I am in a strange state of aesthetic suspension about the rest of the cover album. Is it good? I have listened to it more than once, which is a positive sign, but its main virtue was in making me listen to the actual album more? I haven’t really listened to it in ages BUT WHY NOT?!?? Now, it could be that I have deep-seated psychological problems and that’s why. Or that I have deep-seated psychological problems unrelated to my failure to listen to an album I really love for ages. That’s more likely actually. My psychiatrist would probably agree with that latter thing. ANYHOO. In short, the cover album is way too by-the-numbers, but the songs are so amazing, and his voice so well-suited to the harmonies that by some conservation of good music principle it is also good, I guess? (John likes it more than I, I think.) Additionally the production quality is a bit higher, so perhaps what I really want is a beautiful re-master.

I tried to explain/debate this problem with my brother in law but he has always been meh on Death Cab For Cutie and actually had never heard of Teenage Fanclub. So I asked him if he loved Big Star and he was fractionally slow in responding with some word that by the high questioning pitch audible just as he began aspirating was clearly going to be “well” or something like that so I said “nonononononononono. Nononononono.” You know, like a normal person would. He doesn’t love Big Star. That’s OK! Some people have a tiny chunk missing from their soul that—no, not that either; I guess some noble lovable folk just don’t love Big Star and I have to laboriously reconstruct my worldview now to accommodate this ill-shaped fact.

He actually attributed it to a well-known problem of not having listened to them as a young enough person to become truly obsessed ever. It’s not that he doesn’t ever like new music, he just doesn’t then sit there and listen to it endlessly on repeat, memorizing the lyrics, and crying slightly to himself. But nothing prevents you from doing this so I recommend it highly! Well, you don’t need to cry quietly to yourself—what if you aren’t emo like me the album is a real barn-burner after all? It’s true that there will probably never be music as emotionally important to you as music you listened to when you were 16 or 20 or whatever…but only probably. It varies from person to person. I recommend having various shattering emotional crises at different ages so the music you listened to obsessively then can pierce your heart with simultaneous love of music and hangover sadness at the same time! Wait, I’m not sure I do so unreservedly, but it does work. The real moral of the story here is that you should listen to Tennage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque; Jesus it’s so good. And hey, the other is good too?

What about you guys? Do you have music you first heard when you were 35 that you love deeply? 55? Do you love Big Star as is right and proper? Should I go back and listen to Death Cab For Cutie; it’s not like I didn’t have some songs I liked when they first came out? Did my new favorite album come out ten minutes ago and you have to tell me about it now? What’s the score?

What Music Am I Listening To This Week?

by Belle Waring on June 28, 2017

Once again, answers to the real questions. Not, why are Republicans actual mustache-twirling villains, or have we reached peak McArdle, but the music stuff. I meant to post this yesterday, but reasons. OK, cool.

Lorde’s new album is amazing. If it has one drawback it’s that as an adult she is writing about love and sexual relationships, which are the most basic song topics, really. As a young teenager she was writing about weird stuff like seeing your home city from the air for the first time or taking the train with your friends.

I love this song so much. Golden was a short-lived but good band who gave a great live show, and has this one genius song. I was inspired to listen to it by one of our commenters reminding me to listen to Ali Farka Touré. Which you should too! But the Golden song is particularly dear to my heart because they “get chicken at Negril,” an excellent Jamaican restaurant in Silver Spring, MD near my mom’s house. Also, it combines the sweetness of West African guitar riffs with the satisfying resolution of a more normal pop song, rather than a meandering continuity.

I love Bon Iver too much. So sue me. You should read the lyrics because you will for offing sure not understand them from listening to the song, I tell you what.


Hey, can’t go wrong with this one.

How Do Low-Lying States Deal With Climate Change?

by Belle Waring on June 16, 2017

The NYT today has an article about how the Dutch, with their long experience of holding back the sea, plan to advise other nations about utilizing children’s pudgy fingers to avert devastating floods. At least, I assume that’s what it’s about; I didn’t RTWT yet. More interesting and pertinent to me was this article from some weeks ago about how Singapore is constructing new land, both to increase the city state’s area on general principles and to deal with rising sea levels. Singapore is in a difficult position as a low-lying polis with no higher ground or inetrior countryside to relocate to. In addition, it is forested with high-rise apartment blocks that can hardly be moved. Bukit Timah hill, which I can see from my window, is only about 400 ft above sea level and is the highest point on the island. Singapore imports tons of sand from neighboring countries and uses it to create new islands offshore or infill and extend the current island.

The area where the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino is located is on infill. It’s the one that looks like a cruise ship plonked on top of three curving towers. Next to it are these fabulous tree-like structures filled with plants and a stylized lotus building, and the huge ferris wheel, currently the biggest in the world, is nearby. With this and the durian-shaped Esplanade theatre Singapore has methodically achieved its goal of having a recognizable skyline. It is just like the government to plan the whole thing out like in this way after, one assumes, envious comparisons to the spontaneous towers of Hong Kong, and build it up in a slow plodding way—but then have it actually work!

From what I have seen in staying here so long, after the sand is put in, the ground is usually firmed up by being planted with trees for a while, though apparently they also build concrete honeycombs to support it from beneath. Both Indonesia and Malaysia have become irritated by the expansion and have begun to withhold exports of sand, so that Singapore has to look further afield. Myanmar has no compunction about selling something that’s worthless to them. Singapore has created something I didn’t know about, namely a strategic sand reserve in Bedok. This is also the most Singapore thing ever. Looking ahead! 10-year plans for new public housing and new MRT lines to service them! It is a curious place. I recommend you do read the whole article though it is long. The stories of a man who has viewed all the changes from the water are very interesting for a different perspective than the one I see. It is a fascinating look at what a truly endangered nation will do when it takes the Anthropocene seriously.

What Songs Are You Listening To

by Belle Waring on June 14, 2017

This is an important update on something I know you have all been wondering about with unabated bated breath, and since I am worried some of you may be turning blue from hypoxia (this has happened to me and it was no fun, so I sympathize) I have generously decided to answer the question no one was interested brave enough to ask: what music are you listening to this week, important opinion-having blogger Belle Waring? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Because now I can bludgeon you all about the head and say the new Mountain Goats album is the greatest. It’s a) a concept album b) about goths c) in the style of Steely Dan. I mean, what’s not to love. Nothing. Nothing is what’s not to love.

It’s the next song on the album, “Paid in Cocaine” which is actually the Steely Dan-iest, both in theme and execution, and it is also genius. CLICK THROUGH.

Mother Mother has a new album out and I’m not crazy about it although the song “Drugs” is OK. This, however, is good song.

The Damned. Can one ever tire of them? Well, I sometimes don’t listen to them for a while but then I recover my senses.

Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN is amazing like everyone has been telling you; I’ve been listening to PRIDE but I cant link, so enjoy HUMBLE. (So explicit of lyrics, if you’re at work or a three-year old is standing there.) The lyric that cracks me up is “This that Grey Poupon that Evian that TED talk”. That’s cold but accurate about the empty status symbol nature of TED talks.

Umm, like a million other things, how about Bon Iver’s “666”. It’s good that he posts lyric videos since otherwise there would be literally no way of knowing what they were. This isn’t just me leaning into my crappy all-in-one record player as a kid trying to figure out what the hell The Clash were saying, this is straight incomprehensible with made-up words in there to confuse you.

Let’s wrap things up with The Rolling Stones’ “Worried About You”. This song is genius because at the start Mick says “I guess you know by now that you ain’t the only one” but near the end of the song belts out “when did I ever do you wrong?” with apparent wounded sincerity. Like, dude, three minutes ago, is when. The part of the solo starting at 3:18 kills me. I have listened to this song on repeat so many times. I remember waiting at the blazing heat at the bottom of my apartment block for Zoe’s pre-school bus, and riding in the past the big movie theater in Little India where they sell muruku instead of popcorn, and walking in the still-sweltering early morning to my local park in Bukit Batok, just hitting play again and again and again.

So, tell me in comments what you are listening to. I am genuinely curious! Edumacate me! I’m making this a series now unless even if you all hate it.

This. Is. The. Remix

by Belle Waring on June 10, 2017

Why would anyone remix Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you might ask? Well, this is what NPR’s mellow-voiced Bob Boilen discusses with Giles Martin, son of the legendary Beatles producer George Martin, in this All Songs Considered podcast. I should note first that it seems misleading to call this a remix since it’s more like a remaster. Wait, I should note first that this sounds AMAZING and I am legit listening to this full-time now vs the original mix. It’s like a scrim has been lifted between you and the music: everything is crisper, fuller—there are drums, even! Martin explains something I didn’t know, which is that it was a technical concern for a while that the phonograph needle could get kicked out of the groove by too much drums. Ringo wuz robbed! Seriously, though, the bit where the drums come in in “A Day In The Life” (after “he blew his mind out in a car”) is fantastic now.

Back to its being a remaster, basically the band and Martin spent four times or more as long on the mono mix as on the stereo, lavishing way more care on the former. They expected everyone to listen to the mono, but then through widespread adoption of the stereo format, it turned out that exactly no one listened to the mono after a certain point. Certainly no one my age has ever heard it, and it’s noticeably different in many places. In addition to that, the four-tracking for the stereo mix, while innovative and cool-sounding, caused the sound to be degraded as it got repeatedly bounced to make the various tracks. What Giles Martin did was go back to the original tapes from which the stereo was mixed down, and to the mono mix, and then tried to create something that is in effect a stereo version of the mono mix. So, for example, the mono version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” had something called artificial double tracking, which John loved. Another recording of his voice that’s slightly slower than the ‘top’ part (I don’t know what else to call this) is put in, creating a smeared effect that really suits the psychedelic sound. In the stereo version his voice sounds thinner by comparison. The whole podcast is worth a listen, because they put snippets from the various mixes and raw tapes next to one another so you can hear the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences. Or just listen to the remix of the album itself, it’s on Apple Music. Needless to say, you have to use the good headphones as the varying effects will be lost on your crappy computer speakers. For the record, Paul has listened to and apparently loves the mix. And speaking of records, they cut a vinyl version and I’m kind of coveting it. Maybe John will buy it for me as an anniversary gift. [insert winkmoji]

P.S. It is a humorous fact about my life that I never listened to The Beatles until I was 17, because my parents strongly inculcated in me the belief that you were either a lame hippie who liked The Beatles or a cool person who liked The Rolling Stones and then went on to like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, as if it were a Thunderdome-style match in which the two bands entered but only one band left. I don’t know what you also liked if you liked The Beatles; the soundtrack to Hair, maybe. This is related to my parents’ insistence that they were never hippies when I’m like we had a failed back to the land farm! I was there, dammit! Anyway, it was thanks to my horrified high school boyfriend Charles Andrews that I learned this Beatles/Stones absolutism was dumb and made zero sense (sorry Mom and Dad, and thanks Charles). It was “And Your Bird Can Sing” that sold me.

One of These Things Is Doing Its Own Thing

by Belle Waring on June 9, 2017

From the NYT:

That meant Labour-held seats were ripe for the picking, especially since northerners were not enamored of Mr. Corbyn, 68, a far-left urbanite. He seemed weak on defense and security, shaky on economic management, passionate about places like Venezuela and Nicaragua, had once had strong sympathies for the Irish Republican Army and liked to make jam.

Jam? Jam tho? Don’t northerners make loads of jam? Are they too tough because putting up fruit is for the weak? It’s actually a reasonable amount of trouble, even if very worth it.

Is The Living Easy Yet?

by Belle Waring on May 30, 2017

Summer is stipulated to begin on Memorial Day in the US. I’m pretty sure everyone else just starts it on June 1 like normal people. At any rate it’s almost summer in the northern hemisphere. Here in Singapore the days are lengthening by…seconds and headed for the solstice when the day will be 3 minutes longer than the night—which is totally imperceptible. Why not listen to Hot Hot Summer Day, an underappreciated but very awesome song from the Sugarhill Gang.

The more obvious classic is DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s Summertime, which has the advantage of having a great video.

Is it hot where y’all are? Are your kids about to get out of school and be on your hands the whole summer? Do you have screentime limits for them so people don’t just play video games and dork around on the loserweb all day? We are struggling to implement this. (Perhaps because this may be one of those ‘do as I say not as I do’ situations.) International school here ends on the 16th and John needs to be back in early August, so on the 20th we begin our dizzying yearly trek across all of fracking America, including stops in Arizona, D.C., West Virginia, and South Carolina, flying via Japan and Los Angeles. Kind of a drag but got to see that beloved family. Tell me of your plans Plain People of Crooked Timber (I am aware that they may be ‘work all summer you idiot; not everyone is an academic or has children to entertain’).

The Rapture of The Pretty Hip People, Actually

by Belle Waring on May 1, 2017

No spoilers because I’m just talking in generalities. Read away.

Walkaway is a book in which important issues about how we should live, and how we can live, are discussed and hashed out very thoroughly. Not anywhere near the level of Kim Stanley Robinson, when in the course of reading you are inclined to ask, “did I just read 160 pages of minutes from an anarcho-syndicalist collective meeting? Yes, yes I did. Huh. Why I am I finishing this trilogy? Oh right, I have a compulsive need to finish any book.” Nonetheless, the discussions are full and mostly quite satisfying even as they treat difficult issues. What do we owe one another in society? How should we distribute resources? (I will note in passing that there is a certain tension between the post-scarcity economy that seems to be available and the widespread poverty of the “default” world, but we can hardly expect a smooth transition from the one to the other; perhaps this is realism rather than inconsistency.)

However there is one topic which does not get as much of this treatment, in my opinion, even as it is a very live issue in the plot, namely, is a copy of you really you? If your consciousness could be uploaded to a computer and successfully simulated, would this represent a continuation of your actual self, or merely the creation of a copy of you, like an animated xerox? Would you “go on living” in some meaningful sense? What if these new copies of you were drafted as servants, to use the way we use machines now, but a thousand times more useful? [click to continue…]

What’s It Like In Lombok In The Morning?

by Belle Waring on April 11, 2017

I just got back so I can tell you. Lombok is the next island over from Bali in the chain and the straits between them form the Wallace Line, which separates Asian from Austronesian flora and fauna. People are coming back from fishing because they went out early, of course. The boats are narrow with two pontoons on either side that are attached to the boat by two struts per side, each an angle of two bits of wood; the effect is of brightly colored water striders. They are all painted in a riot of pink and green and blue and white.

Old ladies and men are sweeping the sidewalks and lanes and parking spaces and packed-earth yards with stiff brooms that are proper besoms of twigs, pushing each leaf and empty Happytos bag into the gutter. This seems a futile gesture towards cleanliness sometimes if the sidewalk is on a busy road and the neighboring empty bale has no one tending it but isn’t, really, and it produces what I consider the most distinctly Southeast Asian morning sound as the thinnest ends of the twigs chuff and scrape against the concrete. Some men are just sitting around in bales (those raised platforms of bamboo that are open on all four sides and have a thatched roof) smoking, because that’s a thing everywhere. Clove cigarettes, mostly, which smell wonderful and taste…also wonderful. I have never been a smoker but occasionally have a few when I am in Indonesia alone. I went with Violet this time so no dice. People are vaguely lining up to buy fried snacks from little carts.

Men with the white caps that indicate they have been on the hajj are strolling towards mosques. Lombok is very poor and I often wonder how they made their way all the way there, dignified in batik shirts and plastic slippers. Tours with their mosques, I guess; there was one in the airport with everyone dressed the same and nametags hanging down and three carts piled so high with matching black luggage it looked like tumbled black bricks. The towns and villages compete with their mosques so they are beautiful: green and gold domes, green-and-white diamond tiles, slender minarets.

There is no other feeling of pleasure and self-satisfied minor vice quite like listening to the first call to prayer before it is light and then promptly going back to sleep. Especially if it is raining. The calls to prayer are long and beautiful, reminding you that god is great five times a day. I wonder if people don’t sometimes think, “I literally just prayed!” Some people clearly do as Lombok has an awesome heretical “Three Prayer” sect in which, as you may guess, you only need to pray three times a day, and just, whenever you’re feeling it. Their Ramadan lasts only one day and I think they might even be able to drink too. I guess by the time the news got to Lombok things were a little muddled.

Lombok is home to Balinese people too (about ten percent, and they used to run the place, which local Sasak people seem still to resent.) There are yellow ribbons around big fig trees to tell you they are sacred, and narrow carved gates opening off the road at high places and descending into temples you cannot see. And so there are festivals almost every day and beautiful young women with baskets of fruit on their heads in the early morning, and gamelan music that has been playing the whole night. There are some Chinese people too, there have to be, running little stores, and so I passed by a Chinese graveyard with its distinctive horseshoe graves and a few people burning grave goods and sweeping the graves clean. (Folk songs always want someone to see that the singers grave is swept clean; I want to go to Bonaventure Cemetary next time I am in Savannah and sweep my grandmother’s grave, and Annie Washington’s.)

Of course, there is rice. Of all the things people grow in the world, rice seems like the most trouble. You do pass the odd field empty but for a feeble scarecrow of a plastic scrap tied to a piece of bamboo, but for the most part there is always someone working in the field, ceaseless toil under a straw conical hat. You would think it would all be growing in tandem but it’s not. I saw the neon green of new rice shoots in the wet paddies, and the golden haze over dry fields ready to harvest, and fields stubbled but for stacks of hay, and people doing the tedious task of pulling up every growing shoot of new rice, arranging them into bundles, and re-planting them in rows, all while ankle-deep in water, and women spreading out harvested rice on tarps laid at the edge of the roads to dry. I see why they do this—the heat on the black tarmac must make quick work of it, but I always worry it will blow away, or someone will drive into it, and I don’t imagine it’s the least polluted rice in the world, but clearly they know better than I.

Lombok has many people living on $2 a day, but has very little malnutrition because the volcanic soil is so rich and the sun and rain so abundant. So I also passed fields of corn and runner beans and tomatoes and rows of papaya plants. It’s funny sometimes to think of food traveling so far, all the way from the Americas. In the evenings people in Lombok drive their scooter up to scenic points along the coast, peaks falling away to perfect palm-fringed beaches on either side, and the sun setting right behind the three mountains of Bali, and they eat grilled corn with lime and chili.

This song has nothing to do with Lombok (or Perth for that matter) but I was listening to day before yesterday. It will help you imagine that you are in a black rental SUV with all these things gilding, pulled past the glass on an infinite string, now a little painted cart drawn by a thin-ribbed pony just near enough to touch, and now a green mountain far away over endless shining paddies.