Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Art of Noga


i don't know how much poetry to make out of the fact that I literally wake up in the dark every day.
it's not completely dark, i mean, i leave some lights on, but there's no windows anywhere.
i have been sleeping in the studio since it's cheaper and easier than staying in a hotel while I'm here recording.

Ben Foldses studio is like a huge church, and Im sleeping in the choir loft/where the pipe organ might be, up on a big wooden balcony. we moved a bed and a boxspring and a light up there and voila Instant Home.
there's also a little adjoining kitchen and bathroom area and this is where i make my morning tea and sit. i shower at the yoga studio. i don't make it to yoga every day. but every day is a valiant effort.

joe, the mixing engineer, shows up every morning to let the piano tuner and it's always this embarrassing joke. he and i are always the last ones in the studio at night and as he's packing up to leave and as we're talking about the next day's schedule i always proclaim i'm going to make it to 9:30 yoga in the morning. then i inevitable stay up til the wee hours doing some random thing. then he shows up again in the morning to let the piano tuner in and he sees me blearily staggering down the stairs and trying to croak hello and be social to him and the tuner. he assesses the situation, nods his head and cries out with his arm up, like a sports announcer declaring a touchdown: "NOGAAA!!!" these are what we call "Noga" days. the yoga intention was there, yes, and it was very strong. but o well fuck it. last night i stayed up til 4 finishing a brand new song. i am writing again, a lot. it's all coming back. im so fucking happy about that.

waking up to the sound of the piano tuner in the dark has become something i've actually really started to enjoy. the piano is directly beneath my loft and head so the tuner can't see me, but it's loud as hell. it's better than an alarm clock for sure. BONG BONNNNNNG. BONG BONNNNNNG. i love the sound of a piano being tuned the way i love the sound of an orchestra warming up. it's very comforting. and it's a wonderous piano, a fucking beauty. ben just got it, his new baby, its a full steinway grand from the early 1900s and it sounds like MAgic.

late nights, i sit alone in the huge studio and listen to the tracks we're working on. i youtube. i just play. just playing, i had forgotten about this. sometimes ben and i just play. last night we had a jam session in which we played Guitar Hero in the style of a cruise ship lounge band, then we had a three-way with me on tack piano, ben on the steinway, and joe on the minimoogthen ben made fun of "coin-operated boy". then i made fun of "brick". joe and i listened to the entire preview of "arena rock classics" over the playback speakers one night. i decided that every song i've written int eh past 4 months is directly derivative of "cold as ice" by foreigner. that's not such a bad sign considering foreigner did pretty well. we have been having a damn good time. i put a little youtube clip up of ben and i figuring out "runs in the family":

those papers falling off the piano were not staged! it was the Force of Rock!!!! the work is hard. being back in the studio for the first time since making the last dresden dolls record is in turns exciting and terrifying. there's much less of a clear plan, since i am putting this record out myself, with my own money and on my own schedule. ain't nobody up top telling me what to do, just the way i like it. but it also means that this thing

(ah the cafe is playing girlfriend in a coma, i love nashville)

could take 3 years if i wanted it to. this is good and bad. zoe keating, the wonderful cellist who i know through her days in rasputina and through her sister laura (our merch girl extraordinaire and now full-time management assistant)
came to lay down some tracks and we worked aroudn the clock to squeeze as much in as possible. we didn't have the arrangements prepared so we put them together on the spot and there was a lot of amanda-running-from-the-studio-room ben-running-from-the-control-room ahhhhhhh TRY THIS!!! no no no no wait, aaaaaahhhhhhGGGH try this! that's amzing! FUCK THAT! this is good ahhhhhhhhh for about 36 hours straight. we started at 9 in the morning both days, an unthinkable hour. needless to say those were Noga days.

(zoe amanda and ben, photo by joe)

today was a Noga day. i got all my shit together and walked over to the yoga studio and forgot it was fucking saturday and there was no class at noon. so i went for a jog instead. i've been learning how to jog ever since getting my ass kicked by my hawaiian roommate, suz. she would jog every morning before the 12 hour yogathon and i started going with her. suz has been featured on ESPN in those fucking insane week-long extreme sports megathons that involved teams of four competing against each other in a week-long marathon that included a total of 18 hours sleep, 788 miles of running, 435 miles of rock climbing and 4895 miles of whitewater rafting. her body was of steel. her stories about that were fucking unbelievable, like the one about her teammates draggin her behind them on a leash because her feet were so oozing with sand-blisters that she couldnt feel them and she couldn't run. anyway, jogging starting to seem like Not So Bad. and i've been loving it. i put my ipod on at full blast and run up and down Music Row in nashville lip syncing aberdeen city at the top of my lungs. the cars driving by must think im either Important or Fucking Nuts. i'm both, mothafuckers.

in the "since you asked" dept:

yes i drive stickshift.

avrils new record: i am very disappointed, avril. it's no "under my skin".

the day i flew to nashville, I spent all day in a weird airtport/transit twilight zone. my flight had been cancelled the night before, so i stayed home and they booked me on a two-leg flight the next morning.
it was a sureeal Snow Day, I'd already said goodbye to Max, Becca, Lee & my whole household.
i woke up insanely early, andrew (the same one who cahsed a lot of you out the lilypad that day with the loud japanese grindcore, or whatever it sure he's sorry, he had to turn over the house) made us breakfast and took me to the airport. but we got fucking lost since neither of us are intimate with the 1,901 detours of the Big Dig (it doesnt matter HOW many years you live in boston, you'll never be able to negotiate the Big Dig detours). once I finally got to the gate, I was kicked off my flight, since they'd overbooked it. mother of fuck. then they told me they could fly me direct. this was Great.
i waited for that flight. we boarded late and then sat on the tarmac for 2 hours. then we had to get off and were told to Kind Of Wait.
wind, storm, all that. i wandered around, lost and looking for information.
I finally posed as a member of the Admirals Club and was told the flight had been canceled. i hunted for my luggage, found it, and called my sister for a ride home.
i went home for two hours. i got to scare the shit out of Becca, who was in my apartment playing piano (i snuck in and went YAAAAAAAGGGGGG! and made her jump).

i ended up deciding to stay in nashville for my birthday next week instead of going early to the video shoot in LA, mostly because i've started to feel at home here. i have a little family here. ben and joe and i eat together every day, usually twice, and it seems like the recording is something we do in-between meals, not the other way around. and this is the way i like it. jared stops by. joe's wife sandra is a riot and i love her. joe, besides being one of the best engineers i know, also knows every restaurant hostess in town. we eat often and well. we've been working long hard hours but they go quickly. last night ben got fixated and wouldnt Get Satisfied with the introduction to ampersand so i played it a few dozen times and then changed it and played it a few more dozen times and after about an hour of this we said Fuck It Let's Eat. then we came back and kept going and finally we were all happy. hours and hours for that one 13 seconds.

here's ben playing it:

i like recording this way. some days are vocal days and my voice is in perfect shape and things go fast. some days i sound like shit. some days i sound like shit and that sounds strangely good. we take youtube breaks frequently. we can't work for more than a few hours without taking a youtube break. we get fixated on one video and will watch it repeatedly throughout the day. two days ago we were so hilariously fixated that we ended up sampling the youtube audio from the flash animation that we were obsessing over and put it into the track we were working on. things are getting weird.

ben has spent more time being a touring musician than a producer, but he's had a heavy hand in all of own records and he knows what he's doing. he's actually gotten more nitty into my takes than other producers might. we started with a list of about 30 songs and gradually whittled. well, honestly, it wasn't that gradual. one thing that i love about ben is that we can be totally honest with each other. so "that song sort of blows" and "this song is awesome but that song is way too gay" are legitimate criticisms. often, i will make the criticisms before he needs to and we'll simply agree. we have so much respect for one another that when we disagree, which is rare, it's a non-issue. one of us lets go and we move on. we;ve been adding instruments, laying in textures, trying to be spare but creative. we have almost 6 songs almost done.

mornings i spend lots of time at cafe coco, sitting and writing in my journal, making sense of the past few months. i was in a

(wow, they must have it on shuffle, because they just started playing girlfriend in a coma again)

bad state in the past while and i feel like i'm finally rising form the ashes. the lupus episode was rough enough, but it left the finger issue unsolved. it's still diagnosed as a cross between arthritis and tendonitis due to overuse but i've been giving it lots of care and feeding and rubbing and love and yes lots of fish oil and glucosamine and it's been staying relatively unswollen. ive been taking impeccable care of myself, hardly any smoking at all, drinking only to lubricate an already moderate sense of well-being, which is, i think, the only way to drink. last night, actually, i drank while i was writing. i was exteremly proud of myself, i had the discipline to almost completely finish a song i'd started in the afternoon and had had spinning in my head all day. we had been talking about childbirth and labor (my friend claire had a TWO-DAY marathon labor with no sleep that made suz's week in utah seem like a stroll to the bodega to buy cigarette papers) that day at lunch. everybody

(now they're playing grace by jeff buckley)

always compares songwriting to childbirth and it's true that the parallels are endless and uncanny. if we follow this metaphor, then my use of drinking lager while writing is sort of like using your breath to get through the contractions. but careful. too much beer and you lose the inspired writing zone; too much heavy breathing and you might hyperventilate and pass out on the floor and hit your head and die! then mother and baby and song all dead = bad.

today is our last day of a little tracking and comping (where we listen mercilessly to takes and decide what to use from which takes). we've made headway on about 6 songs and that's more than i thought we would have done a week ago. so i am happy. tomorrow is off and doni is taking me to the woods and we're going to practice for the show on monday: quite looking forward to this nashvegas style birthday party show and recruited all my nashville homies to play with me in a pick-up band, doni from ...and you will know us by the trail of dead on drums and jared from ben's band on bass. maybe i'll even think of a name for us. theres always noah's old favorite ' victorian fourway'. my pther favorite is 'the candy coated shits'. nobody beats ad frank for best fictional band name ever (in fact, i think he was on the brink of using before he decided on Ad frank and The Fast Easy Women....this was a four-piece band of men, mind you): Ad Frank and the Gay Gayons From Planet Gay. maybe we'll be called something terribly nashville like "Amanda Palmer and The Killer Kegs". jared (the bass player) would especially like that one, since he likes beer. anyway

after the show i fly straight to LA for the "shores of california girls" video shoot, which is promising to be a ready-made surreal experience. it's a one-day, wicked-low-budget, all-volunteer cast, beach, GO! i am going to spend two full days in preparation to channel the spirit of david lee roth. i am using THIS ( for inspiration. my god. what an amazing man. almost as good as THIS ( but not quite.

while i'm at it, i might as well share the rest of our favorite youtube & audio clips from the past two weeks of studio madness:

1. BITTY (about 2 minutes): i spent all day that day saying "BITTY" into the mic inbetween take. i love little britain.

2. the troggs tapes (about 10 minutes) - this was especially relevant as i was having a kook attack about What Record Production Means. lore has it that this is the recording that INSPIRED spinal tap. it's fucking amazing, a candid studio recording of the troggs (who recorded "wild thing") arguing like only a band in the studio can. it's CLASSIC. the drummer is especially heartbreaking.

3. WARRIORS OF GENGHIS KHAN. ok, only one more i promise. speaking of spinal tap, this pre-dated it as well and is QUITE excellent:

and now that that's out of the way....

i got off track somewhere there but i was talking about coming back around after a rough few months. it's true. i have noticed that's an excellent space in which to write songs. when you're struggling and confused or depressed, it can be hard to focus enough to record the emotions. but once you get through to the other side there's a grace period where the reverb of those emotions can feed you while your creative energy Does the UnStuck. i'm almost 31 years old, definitely starting to seem old to teenagers. i sort of totally love it. i feel so comfortable with myself, it's hard to explain, but i really just don't worry about things the way i did when i was younger. a lot of people have said this happens to them when they hit their thirties. you just start wearing a huge, shit-eating grin because you have become Fully Yourself and have stopped trying to be anything else. but it's also about teh ingredients. you start seeing this long picture of your life Up Until Now and see patterns in the ingredients that you've put into it and what you've gotten back in return. things make sense becasue of day-to-day experience, not in theory. you're not just shooting in the dark anymore. this can also be terrifying, because the assumptions you've wanted to hold onto desperately n the same refuse to be stay acceptable (I Can Eat/Smoke/Drug However I Want And Nothing Bad Will Ever Really Happen! Every Relationship Is Fixable! Water And Sleep Are Optional! ... and other popular delusions). there's just too there's just too much proof to the contrary, yer fucked, baby.

on that sobering note, i've also become less uptight about the moderation. i've seen too many cycles. seen too many promises of total abstinence broken. i know that moderate moderation actually works better than anything. i've gotten enough speeding tickets to drive relatively sanely. i've gotten excited and dissapointed about projects to put too much stake in any one thing. i've seen too many people around me have freak-attacks and death-threat temper-tantrums to be too bothered by it (or take it too personally) anymore. it always comes out in the wash. i've seen too many gloves and sunglasses get lost. i dont miss them as much when they go. i still try to hang onto them, and i'm getting better with that. but when that realization sets in ("oh well i think they're gone for good") i don't feel too sad.

or maybe it's not the age; i know a lot of uptight fucking 60-year olds.
maybe it's all the meditation and the Noga.

namaste motherfuckers
& goodnight
& may you all have a Noga day tomorrow




the Kate said...

He's my fave.

Kristopolis said...

i wish i could be at your birthday-party-show, instead of taking finals. your new album is gonna be beautiful & i really hope it doesn't take three years to come out, cos i am excited for it now!

Samson said...


"noga" means "carefully" or "by the book" in Swedish. A person who is noga (adj) makes sure that everything is done right =) It can also be an adverb (with a suffix "noggrant") as in: He cleaned the kitchen "noggrant"
("Han städade köket noggrant" in Swedish)

lunaxella bea{nything} said...

i have noga days.
or norun days i should say.
when i do run,
i crank up my ipod and scream obscene lyrics at passing cars..
or pedestrians.
i will definetly see you at the show tomorow.
it beats homework any day.
i mean.
how many times are you gonna perform in nashville??!!
cafe coco is amazing.
i dont really like nashville.
but i live here.
so if you wanna stay.
be my guest.
maybe youll perform down here more often!
c ya tomorow!

Lost Girl said...

It's good to hear that you're having such a good time!

Very excited for le punky jive.

Unfortunately, I don't have any fun youtube things...unless you're a fan of Louise Brooks or Madeline Kahn. Then I could hook you up! :D

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Best post EVER Amanda, thank you.

How I would love to be fly on the wall at the studio where you & Ben are working. Or even a candy-coated fly shit on the wall!

YouTube is fuckin' awesome isn't it, Andy?

Yeah, I know. I want THAT one!

We can't stop doing Lou & Andy at work. Get the Little Britain DVDs and check out the "extra" piece showing how Matt and David gave birth to Lou & Andy. It's kinda cool.

From SNL w/Scarlett Johanson and Bjork

It's wonderful that you're rising from the ashes, and it comes through in your writing. Some of your post almost sounds like lyrics. (Please don't reference your posts within your songs- on second thought go right ahead!) It sounds like you're in full creative bloom-GO girl.

On maturity ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Being comfortable with yourself is a gift. In our twenties we tend to seek The Absolute, but as decade 3 opens we can start to get the idea that absolutes are for LOSERS! I think you're right- it IS the age. Increasing number of years is the only way to get that perspective on "Up Until Now". Most of us get Caught in The Crap. The Crap Trap. The Crapstack. Nome sane?

Thanks samson for the Swedish on "noga". That fits too doesn't it?

Damien said...

Love you too.

The more you talk, here, the more i degenerate into flat, repetative praise.

You don't know me, and I only know Of you, and I'd like to think we'd get along splendidly, should we ever chance to meet, for reals, there's no wat to be sure of that. Not at all...

But we hope, don't we? We do so hope.

Two words: Duelling Pianos.

another said...

Oh shit. I thought the twenties were It. It takes some time indeed...
I'm so glad to hear the new album's taking shape, I hope wait won't be too long! Don't forget to come back to France when it's done...

Anonymous said...

Remarkably, it seems, since it's been two whole days since this post was made- i would like to be one of the first people to wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

your blog has cheered me up immensely. i am terribly sick with a massive pile of work obscuring the horizon, and you have reminded me of some words of wisdom, before i let it all overwhelm me and degenerated into the pile of crap with all the other people who can't manage their own lives.

yes, the moment of clarity and resolve after depression... for me, it lasted all to short for my liking. i'm glad to see that you are well though, it does refresh my faith in the human race to know that some people do get it. do notice these things.

no doubt i will come out of the fog, both the fog that envelopes my house and that in my head.


michelle said...

you're beautiful. your recent happiness makes me happy. the album sounds awesome. can't wait till you come play for us again in boston (or northampton; you should come back to northampton!).


Damien said...

Happy Birthday, Amanda.

Marika said...

Huzzah! Happy birthday!

Noga days are superbly bad for me, as a biochemistry major. Today was a noiology day (no biology) and now I am severely regretting my choice as I do my homework last minute.

But the concept is quite interesting indeed. And now I shall stop rambling and take myself off to my little bed. It is good to see you update and to see you happy.

Editorial said...

We prefer Dschinghis Khan to Genghis Khan:

L said...

Jeez, if those clips are anything to go by, this disc is going to _soar_... Can't wait...

Hippo Bidet...


Brandy said...

I am seriously pissed that I don't read your blog more often. I work behind Centennial Park, and all this time I could have been spending my lunch hour stalking Cafe Coco so I could pounce upon you like a rabid wombat.

Oh Well.

I am thrilled that you're spending your birthday with us Nashvillians. I was totally planning to party at the Voltaire show last night until I happened to catch the email announcing the last-minute show. So I said, "Fuck Voltaire. I'm gonna go see Amanda Motherfucking Palmer, bitches."

Last thing. I'm so very happy that your test results were wrong. Rheumatoid arthritis is a nasty disease, nevermind lupus (though it's never lupus. That's what Hugh Laurie told me, and I believe him). Has your doctor mentioned that perhaps you have fibromyalgia? The aches and such remind me of my fibro symptoms.

Something to maybe look into, anyway.

Can't wait to see the show tonight.

Ryan said...

I hope your putting out this new album of yours on vinyl as well as CD. I'd love to hear your hands work that Stienway through the magic of the record groove. Don't forget to offer a free MP3 download of it to vinyl purchasers - my turntable doesn't work in my car!

June Miller said...

I woke up a couple days ago, saw the new Avril video on MTV, and thought to myself 'Wow. Someone's gonna be disappointed.'

What the fuck was that shit?

Your record is going to rock many an ass. First handclaps, now Zoe. Thanks.

'p.s. and ponies'

Well played ma'am. Well played, indeed.

Wish I could be in Nashville, if only for that alone. Damnit, how I've longed for ponies at my birthday parties.

Happy birthday, Amanda. All my love is being sent your direction. Genuinely.

Get crunked!

Erika said...

I really want to see you play tomorow but i can't. Wish i could though. :(

HAPPY 31st BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!!!!!! that is NOT old not in the least now 32 thats a different story........ (hehe, i kid, i kid!)

I love noga days there great! Very excited for the solo album PLEASE don't take 3 years to complete it! it would be wonderful if it was dont in 3 years but im not sure i could wait that long... i'ld probaly explode.

lots of love, Erika

David said...

another- yes the 20s ARE IT, but then they're over. Dammit.

editorial- ya, moskau is goot. But they should have had a straight guy play Gengis, don'cha think?

David Lee Roth, what a guy!

Amanda, I bought So Divided and I liked it. Thanks. Now you owe me. Right?

So what do you think of these folks??
Regina Spektor
Joanna Newsom
Sigur Ros

For some reason your opinion means a lot to me, so, please?

And happy birthday again. Your 31st year will be


andrea said...

Hey, Happy Birthday! You're probably playing your show as I'm writing this. Unfortunately, I am not able to be present for this glorious event but I know that everyone there will send you all the LOVE that I can't. Rock it.

It's great that your really writing again. I can imagine how good that must feel for you. Along with putting out your new record yourself and recording it on your own terms. You should really be proud of yourself. You are creativity in action. I love the way you talk about your record. It's obvious how meaningful it is for you. With all the work you're doing and all the collaborations it's impossible to be anything but spectacular. Oh, and it just popped into my head. The album artwork. Not to get ahead of myself, or you, but I can only imagine what you’ll have in mind.

Yoga, Noga. Today is a noga, so far...but that could change. I went for a walk the other day in the pouring rain. I walked and walked and got completely soaked. And I couldn’t stop smiling. Walking in the rain is one of the most magical things I think I’ve ever experienced. There’s life everywhere and constant noise, everything is in motion. That was definitely a yoga day. As soon as I got home I stepped to the mat.

Hearing you talk about being comfortable with yourself now that you are in your thirties and you’ve become “Fully Yourself and have stopped trying to be anything else” makes me look at my own self. I think it’s a decade thing. Every decade you get this new feeling about yourself or your life. I’m pretty comfortable with myself right now. A hell of a lot more than I was a few years ago, and I can say that you and your music has been a part of this change in me. I mean, yes, there are things about my life that don’t make sense to me. But me, myself, I make sense to myself. I know what I want for myself and who I am right now, in the present tense. When I’m thirty and look back at this I might think I didn’t know shit about what I was saying. Or not, hopefully I’ll pleasantly evolve. At least you make me want to welcome the thirties with open arms.

I also have a book recommendation which the above paragraph reminded me of. It’s called Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. It sounds like a self help book but it’s not. I’m about 80 pages in and so far so good. To take a direct quote it, “describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. It’s about the unique human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there.” He has a comedic style of writing slightly similar to Bill Bryson so it makes it interesting.

Alright, I need to write this damn paper. But first, nourishment. Juice. It's too warm for tea right now.

Thanks for showing us the pics and the vids. It's a nice insight into what's goig on. I think I'm going to be anticipating this album more than I was the last Dresden Dolls album. It's a good feeling.

sorry about avril.

and last but not least, since I can't be there tonight to wish you Happy Birthday in person. Here is this, in great youtube fashion, a gift from me to you (even though I didn't make it).

all my love,


nicknackpattywack said...

Love the post Amenda, it's really cool to see you guys working through songs. It would be a dream if I could make documentary of the entire thing.

Beautiful_Wretched_Liar said...

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MOFO!!!! You know, I never knew that our birthdays were so close together. You on the 30 and me on the fourth of may. Hehehe. All my favorite people are Tauruses! :D

I hope that your birthday was everything you hoped it would be. I am turning the infamous 18 on Friday. What will I be doing? Probably being the loser-geek I am (and damn proud of it bitches!) and treating a few friends to see the new spider-man movie followed by 1 AM bowling at the Boston Bowl.

Was your 18th birthday special?

You don't know HOW relieved I am to hear that you are actually enjoying yourself. Cause all the other fans and I really wish for you to do what you love.

I am off to listen to some lullaby NIN (it is so soothing. seriously. I almost fell asleep while driving I was sooo relaxed. Very eerie though. They've also done radiohead, tool, pink floyd, bjork, U2, and many other lullaby records.)

Enjoy Nashville!

paying in naievity said...

This one is funny:

Glad to hear that your finger is better.

You don't seem old to me at all, and I'll be 20 later this year.

Scott said...

I don't think the new Avril record is that bad... though it is a bit of a regression to the sound of her first, sugary, less substantive debut...

Peps said...

Glad you enjoyed your yoga retreat, and in Hawaii no less. My friends and I were horribly amused to find out that you'd been here,

"Seriously, Hawaii? Why? No one comes out here."

It seems that this island breeds an itching to get out there and off this pretty rock. Still, I hear once you leave, you can't wait to come back.

Either way, Happy Belated Birthday! I hope it was a good one and that life keeps being good to you.

...And thanks for proving that getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting old, that it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

steph g said...

the show?
rocked my socks, lady.
i hope you had a happy happy birthday.

Anonymous said...

fuck everyday is a noga day for me, though it is only a little past 11 o'clock.

hm, have you taken fish oil long enough to not get the fish oil burps...those are lovely, espically with toothpaste *rolls eyes*

Well keep on keeping on with the record, can't wait for the final product.

Matt said...

Happy belated 31st birthday, Amanda!

Let me preface (briefly) by admitting that I don't usually read or respond to blogs, especially since I got through the undergrad years of my supposed education with many a dramatic moment inspired by them. As a result, I dislike inviting drama, simulated, shared, or any combination thereof--even if it is obvious neither of us knows one another. Not to detract in any way from the personal and vital nature of what you're doing by recording all of thoughts and daily achievements--by no means. I just wanted to make it clear that I would not be up this late typing out something to you had I not come across your blog. I had been web-seeking audio from the concert at Webster Hall in April in 2006. Search engines can sometimes lead to coincidental experiences, for obvious reasons. Anyway, I came up with a link that mentioned something about Ben Folds and Nashville.

Whether prodded by that devil in me, Killer Curiosity, or simply because I felt like doing it, I followed the link and found this post. I read backwards, then back forwards again, until I got some mental ideas regarding your ordeals and triumphs since february of 2007. Last I heard, there was something about Brian playing with HUMANWINE and you doing something on a tour supporting BiGaLe etc. tour that included Cindi Lauper among other notable musicians--pardon my vagueness, it's just that I've been unable to experience any of the music I want to see live here in Baltimore. I really don't follow, in that fan(atic) tendency, what happens in the lives of the musicians who inspire least not as of late*.

* = I had scheduled off to go see HUMANWINE on the 20th of April of this year but that didn't pan out, as they weren't really playing. Ah well.

But I digress--it's what I do, being one diagnosed with that Attention Deficit stuff and thus being prone to distraction. To lyriquote from The Vincent Black Shadow, for a not entirely relevant reason: "I brought it on, but I could never be the one to get to the point then shut up." So, in an attempt to do that:

Too much information undoubtedly follows, but: I am 24, and still feel like a child around the adults who have kids and are younger than me that I work with. It's...hard to describe, and undoubtedly somehow self-imposed, but there you have it. I have four years of liberal arts education and a degree in English, though the best use I've put it to is editing other peoples' papers so they won't fail. I have been struggling to figure out what I should do next--I work as a cog in a call center just to earn money to pay rent. I don't earn enough to really save much, though I try--the job is not something I enjoy--it is an expenditure of time I have talents and skills that are completely ignored by the company I work for because they didn't hire me for those skills--such is the way of the world. I have always wanted to be some kind of writer, yet have learned that I have many more areas of creative production that I can work at. My motivation for this comment, however?

Today, literally 6 hours ago EST, I realized how human, how like everyone else, ultimately, you are. And that means a hell of a lot to someone like me who is trying to grow up at a different rate than everyone else around them.

Dick Lucas, of the Subhumans and Citizen Fish fame, wrote once:

"How is it that people in bands are revered or despised with such intensity? Perhaps because they aren't seen to work in the 9-to-5 style; perhaps the very nature of the word 'entertainment' implies an easy life: more likely it's the years of related hype and misinformation that the music industry has used to recreate human beings as musical gods...depending on the music, you love the god or despise the god...but still a god, still removed from the work ethic or family life... ha! You should meet these people! Charlie Harper's a nice guy who overdrinks, Jello Biafra's a nice guy who overtalks, I'm a nice guy who oversimplifies just to get the point across that we're all equal in our capacity to be nice or nasty human beings, and beyond musical capability the separation comes down to peripheral bullshit!" (From "Threat by Example," an essay originally from '89).

Not sure I agree entirely with all of that, of course--but reading your blog today provided suitable substance for some introspection based on it.

And from that introspection has come action--plans have been made to get my own life in order, and figure out how the hell to get from this dump of a townhouse to my home in Harrisburg, and then from there down to Atlanta to intern for a publishing company that produces narrative roleplaying games, among other lines. I have take the first steps towards getting where I want to be after about 2 years of inaction and vacillation.

I am not a musician (or a critic, at least not intentionally), but I have always respected you (and Brian, for that matter, but this is your space) for your "musical capability" and your performances and so on. I could not, however, see past the image/identity of who you must be like if you had the, well, gusto, to perform as you did on stage last year in April.

I could not see past the face paint, gifted lyrics and overall "person" that I had constructed you in my mind to be.

After reading your entries posted here, however...I have come to respect you for being human--like me, like everyone else. For enduring all that you have, and sharing it with other people. For enjoying all that you have, and letting us know that you did.

It may not seem like much to other people...but to me, the act in itself, minor though it may be, is a precious one.

Best wishes to you, Amanda.


Natalie Rose said...

Sleep isn't optional, it's just a vice.

You'd like my dad. He just turned 60 in January... I bought him a bong. He loves it. And I get the most interesting stories now and again.

I miss the days of broken hearts, I really do. I'd gotten so good at dealing with them... and they are so much easier to fix than a broken spirit.

Renovations can be scary.

I wish you could meet my piano teacher! She is so very Japanese-- every week I get a new metaphor of how music is like nature. My favorite is still her comparison of notes/rests to fireflies; a note is a firefly with it's light on, and a rest is the firefly with it's light off-- it's still there, you just can see it.

She's one of these people that is never going to be a world famous pianist, even though she's very good... but I wish I could share the joy of knowing her with others.

I got a new compass (I gave my other one away) and it's broken. The needle is stiff and doesn't move. As if I don't feel stuck enough without a broken compass. But it's worth it. It wasn't the first compass I'd ever given to someone, but I gave it to the first person her every really, truly took it to heart. She almost never takes it off-- which may or may not be fueling the rumours that we're dating (we're not).

Everyone needs a safe person

I've decided.

Erika said...

Amanda, when do you think your solo album and London roundhouse DVD will be out? SOOOOOO excited.

p.s hope you had a great Birth day and plenty noga days -i have!


Roz said...

I love girlfriend in a coma. =D

ahh this cheered up my day =)

o dear, I'll have to wait like 15 years till I hit 30 =') but whatever, I like being a teenager, and I'm confident about me ^^

can't wait for the album =)

Sara said...

Truly, you live the glamorous life. ;)

And even though I'm exposing you to some excessive cheese here, you are forever memorialized in my high school yearbook under "person I most admire." Yesterday when everyone was writing the names of teachers and moms, I wrote "Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls." Ka-ching!

Can't WAIT for your new album created in part during the period of Noganess. <3

pspjr13 said...

On the street, people call you a foxy girl,
Me, I'm loose, like a golden goose, you can have my juice.

Steady on soldier, watch what your doing to my girl.

Electric slim, and the factory hen man, they ain't my kind,
At dead of night, like a fiery kite, you've been on my mind.

Frozen feet on a winter street, man that ain't your fate,
Greased in the sun, California fun, man that's more my style

Goran said...

Noga means a leg in Slovene, Croatian and Serbian languages ;).
Anyways - found, loved, bookmarked. Waiting for the next album and songs to help me get through the workdays...

Maire?? said...

haha i have nothing to say really but happy late bird-day. today is may 12 i think,and the time is 9:53 AM.(for some reason when i post my comment it says the wrong time) i would have said this a long time ago, but i can only go online at my dads house, and i don't go here often(if you want the truth the reason i don't go to my dads often is because he has a big smelly dog, lives near a chicken farm so it smells even worse, there are like a million flies in here, infact i just got finished blowing one of the desk/my knee, and my father smokes inside alot, so it is realllllllllll bad smelling in here)wow how do i manage to trail off like that. i am so happy that you are recording with ben folds, it is great because all my family likes ben folds. hearing ben folds is one of my fondest childhood memories.(i was not a child too long ago:( )also i was just at your myspace and saw how you were selling the volvo.hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe how silly. oh yes and how i said something about kelly who works at 1369(forget what one though)on my last comment that she was not really a jerk,well she really is a jerk. my sister came home from Boston a week ago and after hearing her talk about kelly being a ass, a slobish lazy ass, i decide that she is a jerk. okay sorry for saying a bunch of crap that has nothing to do with "the Art of Noga".just one more thing i think(i might start to trail off again)but i just spent alot of time watching Arcade Fire videos. they rock this world i LOVE them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!someday you have to call 1866neonbible(toll free number, i don't know were to put the hyphen, but thats the number)speaking of Arcade fire i love to hear them cover guns of brixton.okay now this just came to my mind on day i printed out a nude picture of you and Brian(who else)and i brought it to school just to bother my friend serena with it(she hates when i talk about anything sexually related)i put it in my book and would flip the book open every now and then, and some people were like whoa, some people were like ahhhh, but it was funny to have with me all day every time someone would say what is that i would laugh"WAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAH WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
and when i would show serena she would turn her head and stick her hand out in my face and would say "you child,you" now i think this is my real last thing to say i have turned on a handful of loser middle schooler students onto the dresden dolls. horay!!!!! i love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!don't forget you MUST call 1866neonbible.




Anonymous said...

You write like a streamer of consciousness and a poet - not that I expect any less =P

I love the sounds of music before it's music, things like piano's being tuned, orchestra's warming up, electric things humming, tapping's all cool.

Wish you all the creativity in the world in your upcoming shows, ESPECIALLY Edinburgh! [Can't believe I'm travelling up there two months too early]

Ciska said...

piano and cello? an amazing combo. fucking genus.

ps- since you mentioned the kaiser chiefs

Anonymous said...

Which finger was it (with arthritis/tendonitis)?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts...
Love and Light-
Erin Marie

Timeandalittleblackcload said...

talking to a friend recently about some things made me remeber some stuff you said in the last paragraph of this blog, it also reminded me of this poem by E.bishop.

just wanted to recognise that really....Namaste and many more happy noga days

One Art.

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

sexy said...