[Image: Fifty-Three Stations of Tokaido: 44 (Yokkaichi), color woodblock print (1841-34), by Utagawa Hiroshige. For more information, see the note at the foot of this post.]
Well, damn. I just couldn’t quite make it to a thousand posts by today: I’m still a couple dozen short. (On the other hand, if you count all the auxiliary not-actual-posts-as-such pages — the About stuff, and the Propagational Library series, story excerpts and so on — they put me easily over the top.)
If you challenged me on the point, I’m not sure I could answer coherently why I’m still blogging (however fitfully these days), in addition to Facebooking and posting to Twitter. On the face of it, the whole blogging transaction model is upside-down (especially relative to those other platforms): the blogger can spend an hour, several hours, sometimes days of work thinking about, possibly researching and writing-and-editing a given post — for close to zero reward. Post provocatively or hilariously (however briefly) on FB or Twitter, though, and you get a dozen acknowledgments of one kind or another, from simple “Like”s to full-blown dialogue on the subject. It’s… well, I don’t know. It’s weird. Unless you’ve got dozens of followers and regular commenters (a circumstance which I’ve frankly never aspired to), and hence something like conversation, blogging may just be one of those aimless pursuits which some humans follow. You go for Sunday drives in the country; I blog.
I continue to be surprised by how much music is here. Setting aside the Christmas playlists (which don’t really “cover” the songs included so much as dump them into an online pile, however selective), the average seems to run around one song for every one-and-a-half posts, assuming my spreadsheet of songs (yes, I have one of those) is correct. Of course, both the posts and the music are all over the map thematically, in genre, and… uh… feel-wise; I’m convinced that this skipping-around (as in the posts themselves) has done much to limit my regular audience here.
Not that I’ve been (so far) tempted to give it up. It’s still a way to write, and to think — to imagine, if you prefer — that I’m contributing something to the outside world. I think if I didn’t have blogging I’d implode.
Be that as it may, I looked back over the list of songs for a selection which “told the story of RAMH” — except that, duh, of course, the blog has no real story arc. I tried to do a playlist of “representative” songs: nope. Finally I just thought The hell with it, John; make it easy on yourself for a change—
Hahaha. What a kidder. There’s no easy way to select an hour’s music from such a jumble. What suggested itself as a starting point, though, was a playlist of music by women.
This is a natural choice for me — for a number of reasons, not least because (on average) I simply hear women’s voices better than men’s. It does risk a certain uniformity of sound (I favor quieter, singer-songwriter solos over belted-out Big Voices supported by a hundredweight of metal or orchestra). On the other hand, maybe the skipping-around mindset would help…
Anyway, here’s what I came up with. There’s no organizing principle here, except that a given song felt right — to me! — when played before/after the song(s) adjacent to it. Don’t look for deeper meanings. I didn’t repeat anything from the third-year anniversary mix, but otherwise I considered all songs equally. The women in question aren’t necessarily “my favorite women artists” (indeed, I could easily have included a dozen more — and the first-cut version of the list had a hundred fifty songs, with little duplication of names). It’s just a list which, well, which by tomorrow will look to me woefully incomplete or inappropriate.
Which, now that I think of it, is kinda the “meaning” of most posts here after all. :)
So here y’go… The hyperlinks from the song titles take you to the posts where those songs appeared. (If you’re after lyrics, they generally appear directly on the linked page, or on a separate page to which it links.) And, of course, the little audio player thingamabob works as it always does here.
…and here’s the playlist-player doo-dad itself. (Total length of all songs together: ~73 minutes. So, settle in.)
(Note: The playlist goes automatically from start to finish, once you click the little Play button. To fast-forward to the next number, once a song is playing you’ll find a little fast-forward button to the right of its progress meter — and a fast-rewind to the left, for that matter.)
Thanks so much for coming by here, all.
About the image:
The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido… is a series of ukiyo-e woodcut prints created by Utagawa Hiroshige after his first travel along the Tokaido in 1832.
The Tokaido road, linking the shogun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one, Kyoto, was the main travel and transport artery of old Japan. It is also the most important of the “Five Roads”, the five major roads of Japan (Gokaido), created or developed during the Edo era to further strengthen the control of the central shogunate administration over the whole country…
The Hoeido edition of the Tokaido is Hiroshige’s best known work, and the best sold ever ukiyo-e Japanese prints. Coming just after Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series, it established this new major theme of ukiyo-e, the landscape print, or fokei-ga, with a special focus on “famous views” (meisho). These landscape prints took full advantage of the new possibilities offered by the Western representation of perspective, that Japanese artists had by now fully assimilated. Hiroshige’s series met with full success, not only in Japan, but later in Western countries.
The image at the top of this post, #44 in the series, depicts the 43rd station along the Tokaido road, called Yokkaichi(-juku). (The first print in the series shows the start of the journey, not one of the numbered stations.) Personally, I love that its subject pursues his hat in solitary, unobserved determination. The fellow behind him simply leans to keep his own hat in place against the wind — and is much less interesting for it. (The monochromatic tan cape isn’t the only dull thing about him.)
Maybe that, finally, supplies the “Why blog?” metaphor I’ve been seeking.