Wednesday, May 16, 2007

luminescent dandruff


rolls head around high-school library poll:

....i wish i was on a france....

- claire ("it's a fat girl's name"), the breakfast club, 1984

on a france.....not for tour with the band or for promo or work this time but for Actual Fucking, do nothing shit.

feel so guilty even saying it, i know i've earned it, must be those puritanical new england roots of mine

i've gotten on lots of planes in the past few months to do yoga retreating, recording, video-ing, family-and-friend-visting, but this is different, this has no structure. not quite sure what's going to happen and thats the way i like it.

the woman beside me is reading a cheesy-ass airport romance novel

but i like her

i have not, in the last 7 years, purchased a plane ticket to JUST GO SOMEWHERE. so i did. when i was in bordeaux about two years ago with the dresden dolls i decided i was going to come back, someday, for a vacation. i don't know how i decided. i just did. it was the perfect south-ish of france day, the perfect weather, and as i walked through the streets of the town, something just struck me: this is the perfect place to come and be by myself. endless small winding streets, a labyrinth of squeezed-together blackened buildings all low to the ground, lots of mellow south-of-france people, old everything, croissants, coffee. wine.

how much of it was informed by my love of the breakfast club, i will never know. we tend to have poisoned and collective fantasies.

warning: i think this blog is going to be really fucking long. sorry. this flight is 6 hours and 50 minutes and i haven't taken an ambien yet.

i thought i was going to get to go on this fantasy bordeaux vacation last year but the usual crunch set in and it was lost.

i'd actually forgotten about that. until a few days ago. then life played a cruel joke as i was searching my sent items on my mac using the keyword "bordeaux". the first thing that popped up was an email that i had sent to ben a few months before he died. the email was a picture (a drawing, really) of an old old bordeaux that i found on a google image search and the text i wrote to him: THIS IS WHERE I AM GOING. i had been sharing with him my nascent bordeaux fantasy. i've been thinking about ben more than usual lately. maybe it's the time of year, i dont know. maybe it's because i lost the headphones that i bought because he had the same ones. they got shuffled away in the video shoot. the first thing i did when i came back to boston was went to the same store to see if i could buy the same pair. had to special-order them. special-ordered them. some things like that are important. for a few months ben kept popping up in the address field every time i would email ben folds. i had been emailing ben chapell so much, i suppose, that the mac just said: "this IS the ben you want to email, right?" i removed him from my adress book but i hadn't forseen the possibility that he'd come back from the dead while searching for flight information. i miss him. i miss him.

it's been a crazy fucking few weeks: truly, the happiest of my life so far. yes. i can honestly say that. there's been so many incredible moments that i wish i could bottle it all, save it, stretch it out, wish i could toss a few of the spectacular moments that maybe i didn't need in case i find myself hungry for good days when i'm old and doddering.

random thoughts from comments:

i appreciated somebodys comment about the spin class equivalent of noga: nin. think of all the other possibilities for active non-exercise. such as norobics and nogging. nin as a form of exercise had a very nice ring to it as it conjured images of somebody focusing very hard on weightlifting an imaginary trent reznor. since it is an imaginary trent reznor, it could be the fishnet-clad 1989 version of trent reznor who is much skinnier than the present day buffed-out version of trent reznor and therefore much easier to lift were he not to be a theoretical trent reznor but i suppose if you're practicing nin and that means that by virtue of it being a non-exercise and therefore a non-existant trent reznor it really wouldn't matter either way.

thank you for the link, but you will be proud to know that i DO already own a zen alarm clock. it is one of my most prized possessions and i think i have also given about 5 of them as gifts over the years. i first saw the zen alarm clock (which wakes you up by ringing an actual soft chime with a hammer in increasing increments of time, it's delicious, look for one on ebay, they run about $50-$100) at my friend sasha's house in brooklyn back in the day. she was playing bass and violin for king missile and invited me to crash there or visit one day and when i saw the alarm and said WHATS THAT she said: that is the zen alarm clock, it will change your life. and she was right. waking up to the fucking radio or a buzzing piece of shit alarm clock or a ringing hotel phone is one of my least favorite ways to start a day and i didn't even realise how much it was affecting me til i changed it. now, if they would make a TRAVEL zen alarm clock so i could take that shit on the road, given i am only at home with my zen alarm clock about 15% of the time, i'd be set. will somebody please invent it and drop me a line.

somebody asked me my thoughts on the following artists:

Joanna Newsom - i like her, even though she looks and smells like a gelfling. the voice on the first record really turned me off but she seems to have toned it down for ys. i find it hard to relate to the lyrics, even though the can be captivating, they seem Away, a bit too literary for my taste. i have to admit ive barely listened to either record, but that's my impression. i am mostly impressed by her ability to be seemingly totally original, herself, what-she-is, no bullshit and draw people in. that's very special and i appreciate whoever does it whoever they do it, whether they are joanna newsom or devendra or fucking eminem.

Sigur Ros - i think they're amazing, bought my first album about 4 or 5 years ago in germany, and and and i want to see them live. i've heard they slay

Regina Spektor - its funny you should mention that now, because i've been thinking a lot about regina, how could i not. if you've known me for a while you'd know that i am a huge fan, bordering on the obsessive from back in the day. i was turned onto her music by a friend (im pretty sure it was anna vogelzang, a great piano-singer in her own right) a while ago, maybe in 2002, long before she blew up. somebody mentioned her, i went out and found soviet kitsch (actually, i think i pulled that "hey i'm in the dresden dolls can you send me a CD?" card and she mailed it to me) and spent the next 4 or 5 days in a love haze. it was the first time in years i re-discovered listening to music for pleasure instead of business (i would repeat this experience about a yar later with a bright eyes record) and actually Took My Walkman To Bed because i was so excited about hearing the sounds that this woman made with her piano and voice. we invited her to open up for us on a tour of new england, maybe 4 shows, and that was how we started getting to know each other. more shows and sleep-overs ensued (regina once stayed over at the same time david j was in town, a true convergence) and we would talk on the phone every few months to catch up about our respective lives in the weird Major Label Machine. she was working on the beginnings of "begin to hope" back then, and she was oh oh excited about how good it sounded. i remember talking to her once when she was walking from the studio back to her apartment and she just sounded fucking High on the process, so happy with what was coming out...

i saw her last show at avalon in boston, with full band, and was just blown away by how far and how fast it can happen for some people. i used to say to people: "looking at what is happening with regina every month is like watching an alternate/quantum version of my own life"....because she was doing the solo piano thing, which is what may well have happened if i hadn't met the drummer brian viglione and started the dresden dolls. i would sometimes feel jealous of her solo-ness ("damn. she gets to be alone on stage, tour alone, and do whatever the fuck she wants"), sometimes badly for her solo-ness ("damn. she's all alone up there. no drummer to make bang bang loud loud") and certainly, when she blew up big time, envious of the mega-attention the label had given her ("damn. what if OUR record had had a budget & TV placement like that...?") but mostly i am just in awe of her abilty to move me, every single fucking time i see her play (and often just via headphones). she is a song-writing genius, in my opinion, done, if anyone ISN'T already familiar with her music: i recommend starting with "soviet kitsch" and then moving to "songs" and "begin to hope". "11:11" isnt really worth it, nowhere near her best. regina plug over

re: the new avril video
well, we were waiting to see which direction she would go for record #3 and the votes are in: CHEESE FEST.
where'd brooding, angry avril go? this fucking video makes ME brooding and angry. it's the most hate-ridden, ignorant, mean-bitch-promotin' video EVAR & makes me wanna hurl. omg SO over it. that said, "under my skin" will never leave my top ten.

back to life

the birthday show in nashville i find it hard to describe. it's been so long since ive toured or played live shows that i was really bowled over and touched by how loving and generous everyone was. we put this show together in literally four days and then...hundreds of people show up. there is all this energy, all these gifts, all this attention. i feel like i have a magic faucet plug into the universe. how did i get so fucking lucky?

i wanted to rock out so i put a band together with bass-playing jared (from ben fold;s band, he knew some of the songs anyway from the recordings) and drum-slaying doni (from ...and you will know us by the trail of dead and nowadays more in the band Forget Cassettes) and we had one only-slightly-beer-sodden rehearsal the day before the gig. they were both pro and intuitive, incredible musicians and i felt that holy-shit-MUSIC! feeling as we plugged in and played those first few songs. i had jotted out a brand new song, rare for me to work that quickly, the night before they came and so i went for broke and arranged it with them. we also broke out a cover of "sister christian" by night ranger and by that point in the set my life was complete. i think 5 separate people brought cakes, i was given at least 12 ponies (i re-gifted a few of them to the 6-year old in attendance), and a pair of girls brought a pinata which i slayed out on the smoking porch. they didnt tell me it was filled with glitter and so my head was covered with glitter for a few days, which was nice, it was like luminescent dandruff

(the woman beside me just made a funny comment when the french steward brought me my wine. i have noticed lately how everybody on planes are always on their number one best behavior. from apes in the jungle to being stuffed in a box like this, hundreds of us, for seven hours!!!! evolution and socialization: fucking impressive

oh you'll sleep well, she said

you bet your ass i will, wait til i pop the ambien, bizzatch)

at the show i played some the new songs that ben and i have been working on and Holy Shit do they sound good live....any doubts that i was hanging onto festering have fully melted and i felt like a fucking powerhouse, ripping through one song after the next, sopping up the audience that i'd felt so missing in the weeks of recording, as i sang into a response-less microphone and empty room. now the music was real. people could hear it, i cold hear them hearing it, i could feel them feeling it & this is what i like about being a musician.

after the show i went on a til-dawn bar-tour and playground-tour of nashville and got to sleep after the sun came up.

the LA shoot for "shores" was.......breathtaking? awesome? i'm running out of adjectives. it's irritating that all this good shit is happening at once, it makes it all seem a little less incredible. fuck. i seem to use "incredible" and "awesome" a lot. whatevs. plainly priceless, as you can plainly see from the pictures posted up on the myspace (more coming...). there were about 50-100 people hanging (so patiently, especially as the cold rolled in) on venice beach and i kept doing this "fucking pinch me" thing to whoever would listen because i was so happy. all the friends there, all the love, all the work, it was just (fuck adjectives) FUCKING INCREDIBLY AWESOME. i saw the rough cut for it yesterday and i think we came close to capturing the magic, we'll see. editing videos is weird, it's so hit and miss. the director, andrew, and the producer, frank, were great gentlemen (and broke my not-working-with-michael-pope cherry gently....pope is, by the by, doing great and currently living in brooklyn and working on a new feature film, which will most certainly be amazing and feature some kind of amanda cameo, even if i have to be naked and blowing somebody....and i would not put his past michael pope...i would count on it....long parenthesis over). frank gets special love for taking me on an epic motorcycle ride to the best sushi view in hollywood.

(oh the sky is orange right now outside the plane the plane)

in LA i stayed the whole time at katie kay's magic house near los feliz. staying in a house or apartment of a friend (especially the house or apartment of an amazing friend such as katie kay) tends to change everything. hotels are not Home. when not feel home, do not act Home. when you are Home you are happier. i would rather stay at Home and deal with very small inconveniences like Sleeping On The Couch and Waiting For The Boyfriend To Get Out of the Bathroom than stay in a fucking soulless hotel room. granted, hotel rooms are great when you need Very Alone and what not but good friends are usually very chill in the Alone dept. and in this case, i actually wondered if i was encroaching on katie's Alone because she had so much Shit To Do for the video. she killed it, all the costumes, NAILED, the woman is a shining light of brilliance and inspiration....we spent long good talks eating and juicing and driving around LA. emily came to town to join the fest, erin maxick dropped in and took us to yoga. the night before we shot the video (all of our alarms were set for 5:15 am) i was listening to the track over and over and decided around midnight to go out to the street for a good ol dance-and-lip-synch fest for practice, inspied by watchi david lee roth 16 times in a row and being stunned by his earnestness. emily asked if she could video-tape and i said yes and i have yet to see the footage of me bopping around hollywood at midnight in my sweater, lipsycnhing music that only i could hear, but my guess is it's hilarious.

the morning of the shoot i woke up at 4 am with a very christmas feeling in my stomach and knew that going back to sleep would be impossible. so i decided to be a good yogi, went to katie kay's dark kitchen, brewed this great white/green te mixture she has stocked, and took my mug of tea and a blanket out to her front lawn to meditate across from the little buddha statue sitting under the tree. i sat for about half an hour, got up around 5 am all proud of myself for being all centered and enlightened and promptly tripped across katie kay's front steps, smashing her mug into several dozen pieces on the cement and very possibly waking up several neighbors. i laughed very hard at this.

when we showed up at the beach the whole crew was already in full swing and the rest of the day was a blur of sand and whacked out clothes and faces and color and love. the characters on venice beach blended nicely with ourown collection of freaks....costume changes at the cadillac hotel every twenty minutes....david j from bauhaus showing up in his dapper white suit....margaret cho showing up in FULL belly-dancing regalia....kelly from "kelly likes shoes" showing up in full dress and making out with me in the sand...jason webley showing up and teaching the entire cast of school girls the "elephant elephant" song (another gem from the record we're producing by the amazing siamese twins, evelyn & eveyln, more details on that later i assure you)....the bodybuilder who just happened by and decided to oil himself up for the shoot...the roller derby girls who came all decked out...the stilt-walker troupe...everybody freezing their asses A&R guy david bason and my art director jeff from roadrunner getting in the video with their bare legs clad in high heels....i could go on: my only regret is that the video won't feature HALF of what was happening on venice beach that day. there's only 3 minutes for the whole video FUCK!!!!!!!

there is a STAGGERINGLY gorgeous and huge photo-set of all this madness up at :

pixie is the BEST.
& video should be done by june.....

the shoot wrapped at around sunset and i felt a level of tiredness in my body that i used to only feel after a double shift of stature work on top of a three hour drive. a heaviness in my limbs that was so infused with satisfaction that i could ever decide from moment to moment what to focus on. superkate, my kick-ass assitant for the day, drove us back to katie kay's and i sat there like a zombie in the front seat, unable to process everything that had just happened. it was as if the best moments of my life had just been compacted into 9 hours and i was trying to digest it all. i almost fell asleep. i SHOULD have gone to sleep. but instead i went to a club dow the street where jason webley was playing. i was delirious. i became more delirious. every time i see jason play i am inspired, the guy is just so fucking GOOD at entertaining a room of people, i've never seen him not play from the darkest depths of his fucking heart.

we stayed up late into the night and the next day was a complete recovery, we all went to madame matisse and ordered huge omelettes, jason drove off to his next tour date, and i collapsed back into bed until the next day. had two meetings, more film and tv agent meetings and huge sushi galore with em.

then i flew home and slept for like two days, for reals.

once i woke up i had to deal with the onslaught of mail and email and Basic Shite That Is Always There, but i took it in stride. i saw a lot of music. i soaked up the scent of my apartment and the incoming springtime, the flowers bursting like mad in my neighborhood. i Let Shit Go. i am getting better at this. one night patrick wolf and amy winehouse were playing at avalon and me and becca jumped in a cab to check it out. patrick was adorable as shit and inspired me to order, at no great expense, a baritone ukulele from eBay. he was pure energy on the stage. all my old family/crew was converged there, wonderful wonderful. i went over to central sq to see cuddle magic with andrew (a-fucking-mazing: then we went back for the amy winehouse afterparty. patrick danced with the drag queens (YES, THE VERY SAME ONES WHO PLAYED SOCCER WITH THE KAISER lucky are THEY in the rock dept. this month??)

a few nights later i went to see the arcade fire.

i must pause here for a moment of fucking silence for the Arcade Fire. oh oh oh oh oh oh oh............

this band....o...this band is doing it for real, my brothers and sisters. the only time i'd seen them was when i met them and saw them for all of two minutes at coachella a few years ago.
they BROUGHT IT, they PLAYED. the production itself was brilliant: video-feeds screaming big brother surveillance, neon lights that bent ironically towards heaven....they were so not afraid to be performers. they have the tunes; they have the talent. we said hi to will and win the singer (who is way taller than i remember, but just as gracious) and as soon as we exited to the street i heard "HEY AMANDA" and i turned and there were two guys, fans of the arcade fire and the dresden dolls. all High from the show. we chatted up i noticed that oneof the guys had a cast on his arm. it went all the way to his fingers; his hand was cocooned. his friend was wearing an arcade fire shirt that he had made out of bleach. i complimented him on his handiwork. then anthony, or me, i don't remember, asked

"what happened to your arm?"

yeah, it sucked. lost all my fingers, except the pinky.

how? we asked

at work, factory accident. sucks doesn't it.

then quiet

but he was wearing the biggest grin on his face.
the arcade fire show was still pumping through him, making all limbs and lack thereof irrelevant, maybe

we made the least youre here, at least you're not dead........

out hearts were swollen like killer tomatoes when we got into the cab home


oh well, can;t really tell the difference anymore ?

i watch my packing habits. packing for tour, packing for shoots, packing for whatever. i;m always doing it.
i watched myslef packing this morning and got really hilarious with it. sometimes i'll REALLY let myslef go and talk to myself, out loud, in a completely un-checked stream-of-consciousness.
for example

"now go to the bathroom. toothbrush wait take the charger for the toothbrush now put it in the backpack pocket ok yay you did that now oh shit you need your passport let's go get it ok ok it's in the filing cabinet yay we're going to the filing cabinet ok passport yay it's actually in here ok now we're going to put it in backpack what else is in there oh gross now list list list let's see the list list time to pack books but dishes maybe dishes ok so the place isn't rank when we come home ok dishes time dishes dishes maybe just water all over them but dont actually clean ok ok put on an elliot smith cd good dish music yay really listening to music"

mind you, these are not THOUGHTS i am quoting, i am TALKING here, out load: to myself and the fleas.
sometimes i stop and notice it and fucking crack up laughing. then i shut up out of weird leftover self-consciousness.

i was planning on taking one small suitcase and igically ended up with two large ones.
how did i morph from minimal "i will take one blank book and maybe two pens" ? into a library of books and an amelda marcos collection of shoes for one photoshoot in france?

i put it this way to my housemate troy:

"oh my god i will have free time maybe i can learn to knit maybe i can learn to play autoharp maybe i can learn to read MUSIC!!!!!! maybe i can read EVERY FUCKING BOOK IVE ORDERED FROM AMAZON!!!!!!!!! HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN TEN DAYS I CAN EDUCATE MYSELF SO FAR INTO THE CONFLICT WITH IRAN THAT I WILL NEVER FEEL IGNORANT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!"

add one photo shoot on top of that and you've got two suitcases stuffed with possibilty

(the thin texan behind me just asked, REALLY condescendingly, im ASSUMING you dont want these? re: the three empty plane-wine bottles cluttering his foot space)


today before i boarded the plane
oh oh oh oh oh
today was really beautiful
this was the best.

i was invited to accept an award today at youth pride, which is basically the high school version of regular gay pride day, and i was supposed to be out of town. but then ben's show at the symphony came up ( i had to go, but i missed the infamous brawl) and i stayed a few extra days in town so i went, not knowing what to expect at all. about 2,000 high school kids were gathered at boston common to be out and out and i, rarely vocal bisexual that i am, accepted an award from my old high school's gay-straight alliance. i stood there thinking quick about what to say....i wanted to say a lot but i had nothing planned. i was just blown over by the sheer beauty of all these freaky high-school kids, all dancing and loud and proud and easy, the way i'd always fantasized about in high school...everyone decked out and united in happy celebration of being queer. me and three of my friends (claire, mehran and fred, aka kasha) in high chool founded the first incarnation of this gay-straight alliance group that presented my with my styly award. we caled ourselves Bi-GLASS (bisexual gay lesbian and straight society) and we mostly existed to throw parties and draw pictures of our group's logo, which cosisted of the "B" of Bi-GLASS taking the shape of a man's buttocks while the dot of the "i" transmorphed into a cock penetrating said ass. my god, we had fun back then. we were sick and having a great fucking time, i must say. we didn't accomplish anything, i think we went to one rally. probably tripping. but watching it having morphed into an actual organization at my old high school was pretty heart-warming.

i think things have changed, if only slightly. in 1993, when i was in the middle of high school, it was JUST BARELY cool, even if you were a freak, to admit you were bi or gay. now, from a distance at least, it seems like an acceptable badge of alternative honor. maybe im just jealous again. but the kids that i met at this rally were like a best-of: all caught up thinking, social, mad, lost, happy, delirious in the blitzing moment of their own creation right there on the big grassy historic-common thats seen revolution, civil rights marches, you name it, weep it...

in a fabulous twist of fate, the drag queen who MC'd right pride was from the Kaiser Chiefs/Amy Winehouse debacle-rama. i love life

i had thought that i would take off right after the awards to dash home and pack for the bordeaux fantasy but the kids kept asking if i was going to be a part of the parade and i knew i technically had time. so i stayed

(i just took the ambien - not much longer for this world)

i got into a world-war II-era combo land-water duck boat with the organizer (btw YOU GO KELLY, you may have ditched high school but look at what you've fucking organized, you fucking bitch!!l) and some of the other kids and we did a circle of the completely desolate financial district. this was saturday, i got the feeling that it was the cops idea of a cruel joke to be like "sure, you can have a parade, we'll take you through the financial district on saturday where NOBODY WIL BE and we will revel in the uncomlicated trafficlessness of it all"....and so it was a parade, but with no street-side spectators, which was kind of awesome because you mostly felt the inner resonance of this group of 2,000 people all cheering themselves on, all taking care of each other. then shit gets fucking weird: all cinematic, the parade passes by marcus stern, the director of the onion cellar. he and i had some heavy struggles with each other but we caught each others eyes and smiled all-gone all-good at each other, pressed fists over hearts, let the past go. we held each other's gazes for a while. could this parade get more surreal? yes:

the truly bizarre moment kicked in when the driver of the duck boat announced that he hadnt brought any music, did anyone have a CD? i struggled for a second, because i did. i had a "yes, virginia" stuffed in my purse in case i needed one for a gift (and indeed, i ended up signing it and giving it to kelly), so kelly grabbed it and shoved it in the CD player and for a totally surreal 35 minutes i watched a group of high-school kids in a duck boat singing my songs at the top of their lungs to a mostly empty sidewalk. it was weird enough, but it got weirder when i noticed that it didn't seem to make these kids feel weird to realize that the person who had RECORDED this shit, Stood In a Fucking Studio And Vocalized This Fucking Music was there with them. no, actually///// it didn;t seem to to faze them. my presence was an afterthought at best. it was the music, the music, the music. not me. not ME.

we got to the corner of tremont and boylston just as the last chorus of "sing" was playing. whatever was happening outside the boat, at that point, was irrelevant. crowds of saturday shoppers were standing in the street confused by this boat of traffic-disrupting teenagers who had an army of dead-pan flat-ass boston policemen on motorcycles keeping the road parade-ready in front of them...

and they belted out


while i stood there sort of dumbstruck


and they sang those word to the outside world like an anthem that they weren't even thinking about anymore, because the words were so familiar, like a given

and its not the wine at high altitude, oh maybe it is - they say in vino veritas, though i know i usually cry at any airplane movie, including harry potter, once i'm airborne

but i'm letting myself cry anyway no matter what the woman beside me thinks


i finally feel like i'm real



lunaxella bea{nything} said...

i absolutely love regina spektor.
whats your opinion on Imogen heap?

Hunger For The Great Light said...

Wow. I can't even imagine what that would feel like. The parade, that is. Just wow.

I grew up in one of the most conservitive areas in the country and things like that just didn't happen. I, myself, am straight but my two best friends in high school were gay. They took a lot of shit. From peers, teachers, their families. I wish we had had something like that. Hopefully, someday, this revolution will reach Kentucky. Though I'd be willing to bet it's a long way off. Better late than never I suppose.

Oh yeah, you may find this amusing:

It's a sped-up video of my band screwing around with "Mandy Goes to Med School" in our practice space. It wasn't exactly a great performance of the song, but the whole singersoundslikeachipmunkandtheguitarsolossoundmetal thing kind of adds a novelty level of entertainment. Anyway, enjoy.


entropyartist said...

Just like the velveteen rabbit...

Kath said...

ahh, how fantastic, i can listen to the music of a lady from the USA whilst hitting the cross-trainer (nross-trainer... doesn't work), and then comment on her blog whilst she's flying over the atlantic.

although you're probably in France now - and in a time zone closer to mine.

Regina Spektor - have you heard her stuff with The Crimea? If not, you can in a jiffy, 'cos their new album is online free and legal at

(I'm not their plugger or owt)

whilst I'm here, I may as well mention my own experience of the strange collective-conscious yearning for France.

approximately 8 years ago I wrote the following (part of a novel), although my connexions to the country are minimal and I've never been there:

"She could never make up her mind where to go. At the moment it was a simple flat in a sleepy French town. With a bed, writing paper, and a small box of memories; a kitchen full of fresh fruit and bread from the patisserie below. And marmalade. A large old fridge whirring in the corner, holding cold meat and Camembert, orange juice and white wine (by that time her stomach would have greater resilience). Some shutters or muslin drapes… no, both. Shutters with weather-cracked paint, and a balcony big enough for a circular table and one chair. There, every evening, she would read one of the tatty-backed books from her huge wooden bookcase, until she could no longer see the print and the words merged together, swimming up to sketch images in her head. Ivy would trail down to the street below, which would be full of thin French women and brown, creased old men, solid bronze sunlight and shop fronts punctuated with old bikes. Her work would be full of that sunlight. Time would stand still, not run out or catch up, and she would choose what to remember.


Never mind her inability to speak a word of French."

hopefully will finally get there in September, as my friend has a villa. though it's in the middle of nowhere we still need a driver...


silent_genius said...

I love your blogs, Amanda.

Thanks for being "real".

Have a good time in Bordeaux. If you sometimes come by Lille (that's up North) I'll offer you a drink just because you're one of my heroes!



Anonymous said...


Beautiful_Wretched_Liar said...

I have been desperately trying for the past four years to be making it to the youth pride parade and the BAGLY Prom. This year was my last year that I could have really made it. I had to work.

After four years of working with my GSA, attending the momentous 10th year anniversary of the Governor's commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth in 2002, organizing day of silences, attending GBLTQS Youth leadership conferences every year on the cape and fucking GROOVIN' at the Cape and Islands Gay Straight Youth Alliance's monthly dances for me to miss my last opportunity to attend the Youth Pride Parade is heart wrenching. Next year I will be in Virginia for college and missing this amazing event again and again.

I am so happy that you attended and really experienced something special but I am jealous. So fucking jealous. I am so pissed off and angry right now and right now it is just you and me so you are going to hear all about it. All my hours of crying and being pissed off have come down to this very second when your eyes run across these words. I. Am. Jealous.

Sorry for venting on your blog but I seem to be having an argument with my blog at this moment.

Enjoy your time off in France. Lordy knows you deserve it. See ya at True Colors!

Can't wait for the "California" video and the DVD!!!!!!!!

(once again sorry for having a hissy fit. Its not you its me :D)

michelle said...

the parade sounds glorious.

i am still reeling from the elvis costello show at the avalon last night. front row, right of center. he locked eyes with me during my favorite part of my favorite song of all time while i was singing along, making me feel like i was fucking singing the song WITH him. i felt acknowledged by the man who's music turned my world upside-down at a very young age, and it was so comforting, i teared up.

it's strange how we sometimes need other people to justify our existence, but it is beautiful as well, how we hold each other up.

alekseithepirate said...

I felt Avril’s new single was sheer pop and the video made me mildly uncomfortable, because I can see the way boys will use it to point out what’s wrong with girls and the way it reinforces the negative things girls think about each other. The angsty girl we all fell in love with, she toured the world, fell in love, bought a huge-assed mansion and got married. Her songs aren’t angsty anymore, and won’t be until the (probable) divorce. But how could they be? Like Jule by her 3rd album, when all her fans called her a sell out. She hadn’t lived in a van or bathed in a Denny’s bathroom in ten years. She wasn’t selling out, she was just different by then. Or Gwen Stefani’s newest release, where her heart is in maybe three songs and the rest are her saying, “Jesus people, I’m nearly 40 and don’t have the ska-girl energy from 1992, I just want to have some fun singing and get home to my husband, so can we make an album already!” Avril will probably never write what we want to hear again, but I asked one of my students (15 years old/never heard of Regina Spektor) how she felt about the new album. She said, “I only have the single, but I love it cause it’s exactly like how I feel about this guy and his bitch girlfriend.”

David said...

Wonderful post, as always Amanda. I will have to absorb it in 2 parts. Just like I can't finish a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby in one sitting.

And thanks for your opinions on all 3 of those artists. Your critiques resonate scarily with me. Therefore I will order Songs right away as I have already absorbed Soviet Kitsch and Begin to Hope.

But I must ask, when were you able to smell Joanna Newsom? I would like to smell her too. I'm thinking patchouli and sandalwood ... but I never go to concerts anyway. Must control the volume. Yeah, too literary, but so original as to be irresistable, just like you sweety.

Regina is so cute and her piano is so HOT, I just don't care about her silly lyrics. I love them. She admits in an interview (YouTube) to some "randomness" in her lyrics. I think she said something like her lyrics were "excretions". She could sing Russian all the time as far as I'm concerned.

Somebody on Song Meanings invented lyrics for Andvari, track 8 on Sigur Ros' Takk. The invented lyrics may have tainted my gloss of that track, but it still slays me.

Hope your time in France is fun.

TongaLH said...

The pictures of the shoot are fandamntabulous. You look stunningly gorg. on that beach. Like whoa! BRAVO! Can't wait to see it.

TongaLH said...

Oh and I have to add that I am also in the army of self-talkers that laugh at themselves while doing it. Weirdos Unite!

Laur said...

I wish my school had a GLBSA. But our "G, L, B" population (at least as far as I know, nobody's out because if you are out in this school you are basically alone) is like zip squat and then all you have left is "SA" which is only one letter away from "ASS."

maybe I'm just terrified
to start one? A gay-lesbian-bi-straight alliance?
then again
maybe next year.

i want your life right now. even the "30ish years old" part
which i think is kind of crazy
for a high school student.

ElliotManning said...

You're so thinkety when you blog. I just love it.

And I have to say that I was just as aware of you being there as I was of the music. Just so you know. I thought it must have felt weird to hear a duckboat load of kids belting out "Sing", as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought so.

Amanda said...

you're in my skull now.
everytime i go to read your blog,
i feel much better.
your words are a huge inspiration to me.
I love you.
I'm glad things are going swimmingly for you.
I was wondering when the paris thing was going to happen. i read about you going to france months ago, but didn't know when it was going to happen.
Sorry about ben popping up everywhere for you. That happened with my ben a few months back, around the time when it was a year that he broke up with me.
I finally feel free now too.
It's an amazing feeling.
It sounds like the parade was amazing, as well as the video shoot.
Namaste, Amanda. You're the best.

Anonymous said...

omg the images from the photoshoot are fabulous, the lighting and you know the name of the photographer?

I love pride parades, you can become very connected to people you barely know, the energy is always phenomonial. Friends are like family, its just always a memorable experience.

My school is similar to the way yours was though, things always open up over time.

Hope paris was great x

Anonymous said...

Youth Pride? That is fantastic. I came out in high school and it was not. fun. That there is youth pride somewhere gives me a wee thrill.

May your holiday rock.

David said...

OK now I've read the whole long post. And I'm ready for a pint of Karamel Sutra (my wife's fave)!! If I were exposed directly to the force of your lifestyle as you describe it in your blog I'm SURE it would make me "vomit and run", but I abso-fuckin-lutely LOVE reading it. Thanks for writing, it's inspiring and reassuring and you're a good writer. Love The Gravitas Capitalizations. They Are Fun. Fun Is Good.

Regina's Songs is like $28 bucks at Amazon -- WTF?! Oh well, I'm gonna buy it anyway, and I can understand why you would like her too. She's really special. Like your songs, hers vary wonderfully in texture and theme. I loved Arcade Fire's Funeral so add that to my cart. Again, thanks for music critiques. Now, how about Brandi Carlile? Whatcha think of her? And the Penguin Cafe Orchestra?

Hope you're having fun in France and it's nice to hear you on the upswing.

Kevin Doran said...

Better than Sigur Ros, also Icelandic, one of my favourite albums: Finally We Are No One, múm. Love to know what you think.

Sigur are fantastic live.

Stay safe.

Maire?? said...

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE ARCADE FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i have to be quick now(my sister just got a macBook today, and i am enjoying it very very much) but i will be back later to finish reading, it's just that when i saw "arcade fire" i was very, very happy.I LOVe ARCADE FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
oh yes i love you too

Maire?? said...

see i am back. thats good you feel real, i wish i felt real. ahhhhhhhhhhh. you are sooooooooooooooooooo lucky, my life is boring and empty.

also the part were it said that you usually cry at any airplane movie, including Harry Potter makes me laugh. the only harry potter movie i will watch is the first one, but i love to read the books. yes, the new one is coming july 21, i'm so going to the midnight release. but enough of my nerdy harry potter talk.

my mom left to Italy on the 15 of may with her two
gay friends, she has never been out of the country, and before she left she and her gay friends had a bottle of wine(and even though i did not really see them drink it i know they did because when i came home from school i saw an empty wine bottle and three wine glasses out) infact the night before she was to leave she was saying how she was mad that they could not bring back an wine on the plane.

and now one little question: if you could change anything in your life what would it be?

i love to read what you write, it is so awsome, thank you for this.well i have nothing to say, sorry for commenting so badly.

the part were you say "how did i get so fucking lucky" well it is not luck, you have earned what you have, you are talented, you have worked for it, it did not just happen, so it is not luck, people love you because you are amazing or you are "incredibly awsome"
(hehehe, now my sister put one little miss sunshine, i love that movie)

i wish i could see arcade fire, i have seen clips of them play live on youtube, and they are so amazing when they play live, i would kill to see them. i (sadly, very sadly) have never ever even been to any concert, but soon i will when i go to the true colors tour. i am still young, i have plenty time ahead of me to go to concerts.
Amanda i love you.

have a nice life, and keep feeling real

once again i love you

Love, Maire

rotten said...

I was reading Baywindows and read about your award although the article said you may not be able to be there in person...I knew you would be there...very cool of you to gig for those kids...They will remember that for the rest of their lives...I am going to throw something crazy out there as a music suggestion...way girlfriend filled my ipod to use at work and I kept hearing this angry artist...female...turns out it was Lisa Marie Presley..I know, I know...but great lyrics and not too hard on the eyes...check it out may be suprised..."To Whom it May Concern" is the CD title...Have a blast in France...wee wee pee-wee! See you June 16th...

Eden27 said...

I clicked on the link for the Avril video and as soon as it started, my dog started barking in the garden on account of how high-pitched it is (I think). I used to love Avril during her sk8er phase, but now I can't forgive her. If only for the awful French accent she sings the French version of Girlfriend in.
I might check out Regina Spektor now. I love the feeling of finding a new band and loving them so much you have to take the walkman to bed. That first happened for me with Bright Eyes as well! And also with Bad Habit, Good Day and Coin-Operated Boy. I downloaded those three songs to take on holiday and probably listened to them forty times over two weeks... incredibly frustated that without any record shops or Internet I could not listen to any more of your music. Suffice to say, I bought Yes, Virginia when I got home again and that was a long and probably boring way of telling you how I discovered the Dresden Dolls. I want your life when I grow up. I want to see Arcade Fire and Amy Winehouse in the space between one blog and the next. Have fun in Bordeaux... it all sounds great.

David said...

Thanks Kevin Doran, just listening to Amazon's sample tracks is enough for me- I'm buying it! I'm curious as to what made you say "Better than Sigur Ros"? I only have () and Takk. Any other Sigur to recommend?

Anyone heard of a magazine called The Wire? They often put CDs in the mag called The Wire Tapper with often really interesting stuff you never would hear elsewhere.

Blissful listening all ...

Maire?? said...

this is awsome. i doubt you will really take the time to watch it, but it is Arcade Fire playing Haiti

sorry for over-commenting, this is what happens when my sister gets a Mac.

you made me soooooo excited when you mentioned Arcade Fire.ahhhhhhhhhhhhh they are like my favorite band(my obsession with you has dimmed down alot scince they released Neon Bible, and this is probaly for they best, i was really really really really stupid for that, they were unhappy times)but i still love you
what the hell how do i manage to get of saying a bunch of crap. well anyway i love you!!

philipmerica said...

These guys have a portable "digital zen alarm clock"

aliciaminimal said...

umh, I didn't even read the whole post, I'll do it, and actually I dont make this, but I have a question for you Amanda... you know, it is very important for me, and I'd like to know, how did Brian and you take notice that you were cosmic lovers?.. I mean, when I see your pics its like, you are really that mystical desing wich Hedwig was talking about.

. Thanks for the feelings in your music.

hannah said...

amazing... that's an adjective i use often, but i don't think too much.

avril is such a disappointment.

that's really awesome that you went to that awards thing and then the parade... it really is nice to see someone still human, not too wrapped up in their own world. yet in a separate world all together.

it's nice to go on vacation. you deserve it. have a lovely time.


Manda said...

aaaw... amanda you're so awesome and heartfelt. =) *love!*

Damien said...

Your distant, heartfelt, personal closeness hurts, sometimes.

Matthew said...

i was trying hard not to sing along on that damn boat. i couldn't do it like you. my friend told me you were talking shit about me in here (ha) so i gave it a glance.

you should be writing novels.

Scott said...


That parade sounds like such an incredible experience and you paint such a vivid picture... It seems like it would have been so surreal yet glorious at the same time... I envy you being in a position to have such experiences... and I'm really happy for you...

Enjoy your vacation!

L said...

You have felt it. Keeping it real is now effortless...

from moment to moment...


Tenby said...

Reading about the parade really got to me. I can't even imagine how amazing that must have been.

Otto said...

it's pretty special that not only could i sit through pages of internet blog (i usually read the first paragraph of like anything and get bored), but that i was so enthralled that i kinda forgot about everything. everything!

you give me goosebumps amanda palmer you really do.

utterly utter said...

totally agreed about 'the best damn thing'. the only good avril is angsty avril.

utterly utter said...

ps, have a gorgeous time in france

Anonymous said...

Hello Amanda,

I've been reading your blogs for quite a while now and I felt like sharing my thoughts with you for a change. Normally the only reason why I read your stuff is because you're a very interesting person and you give good tips about art. I've seen pump up the volume several times now because of you. The storytelling of your life is so intense that it gives a really good association about the situation you were in and how your feelings and thoughts about the matter worked. So whenever I get interested in something you've seen or heared I get excited as well, check it out, and almost like it every time because of your experience about it whirling in the back of my head. So thanks for sharing and letting us know you for a bit.

I have a question though and although it's likely you're not going to answer and the best way is to find out myself; isn't the zen alarmclock easy to sleep trough ? I can imagine it must be different from all the other noisy alarmthings, but if it isn't noisy enough I don't wake up properly, turn around in my comfy bed of comfiness and be late for work almost every day.

Greetings, Bram

June Miller said...

Well, it wasn't until about the third viewing of the Avril video that I noticed she filmed it at my old stomping grounds of Golf 'n Stuff down in Ventura. I think that gives me incentive to start some sort of "Warriors"-esque turf war with her, or something, right? I need to find my empty soda bottles real fast.

If I only had more time/money/gas (one in the same?), I would've driven the eight hours or so to go to the "Shores" shoot. Well, and also if my car wasn't such a piece of shit. I'd be bummed if it crapped out on me down there. Plus I don't think I've got anything on Maui Girl. Mad props to her on that one, I tell you.

Have you ever gotten glitter in your eye? Feels like a fairy just Maced your shit, or something.

I can't really explain how touching your experience at the Youth Pride parade was for me. Coming from this small town surrounded by rednecks, pseudo-hippies and (MOTHERFUCKING) winos, that sounds...kind of dreamlike. Something I wish I wasn't so far away from, knawmean? I mean, fuck, just to be part of that energy. There's only one major high school in this here town, and the GSA there was, well, pretty much non-existent. They had their meetings during lunch and all that, but fundraisers, parades, anything that'll bring them some more attention didn't really happen for 'em. It still doesn't, really. The community doesn't exactly help either. Hell, I can count on ONE of my hands the other lesbians I know in this town. Actually, yeah, I'm quite certain this town's headed straight towards oblivion. I look forward to a crisp champagne on my yacht, far, far away from here whenever that happens.

Well, that kind of just turned into a rant about how much I cannot stand my town. My bad!


I don't know. I guess I just wanted to thank you. Hopefully such glorious moments will happen at True Colors. It'll be one of the gayest things I'll ever attend, and I think I'll revel in it.

You are real. Thank you so much for that.

tiny said...

bordeaux? no! come to paris, we'll welcome you with open arms, some sort of home-made banners, even funny hats if that's what it takes!



(also, congratulations on being happy.)

*commercial voice* "paris. it's more than just a skinny blonde."

deadbolt said...

the feeling real must be a god send after all that time...
i am so happy you know of patrick wolf. i was introduced to him by some friends of a friend and love his music absolutly so much. i went with a few friends to see him in bristol(uk) playing at the thekela club, which is a boat might i add, and he is incredable live...blown away by him. the people there were typical univeristy studenty people, except the guy with the huge curly hair who told us he never washes it and eats it, the guy in drag down the front, the lesbian girl hitting the people taking photographs and putting her hands on my being amazed at mr.wolf. i terribly enjoyed that show. two days later, back to bristol to see regina. yeah!she had a piano, and her band. its just how she came out on stage at first just clutching the microphone, she just sang, only her voice...and the room was quiet with awe. she lost it in the middle of poor 'little rich boy', but nobody cared. i find she is so modest, she always says thank you, and her smile is marvelous. me and my friends bought regina drum sticks, and went around saying you must REspekt the stick. we got home, was still excited from all this, slept for three hours to get a coach to paris, a 13/14 hour coach trip, with my college. spent a week in paris art gallerie, jazz bars, and walking around, i was so peacefully tired at the end of this because i knew what had worn me out. something special, memory overload.
can't wait for the 'shores of california' video. and enjoy your vacation.

malte said...

HowTo Zen Clock for 20 Cent

Well, almost. You need a stereo with alarm function, too.
Then, all you need to do is download the preview audio file from the Now and Zen Website, put it into your favorite audio-editing-program (there are free ones like audacity ( and put together the sample with passages of silence between them. Burn it to a CD (here the 20 Cent come into play ;)) with a track from Slayer after it (so you definetly wake up in the case you missed the soft chime ;)) and program your stereo to wake you with CD.

(in this tiny editing-box it looks crouded and difficult, but its that hard)

If anyone could help with a free usable gong-chime, I could put together a ready-to-burn-file and load it up somewhere...

So long, good night,


Charles said...

It is important to feel that we are real. For to believe one was a figment of an overactive imagination can lead to total lunacy, wherein we lose our grip on reality. By maintaining your grip on reality, you have provided hope for so many others struggling with their own realities in their various ways.

Anonymous said...

The parade sounds wonderful. Your life sounds wonderful Good! You deserve it. Keep enjoying life.

Austin said...

this is austin, the "spaz" from the lilypad show a few weeks ago. my boyfriend was supposed to say hi to you on pride day (he had his eyebrows just like yours that day). but he forgot, so hello.

glad to read the new record is going well.
much love<3

amysacrifice said...

That was indeed a very long post. I haven't read much of your blogging, I think this is only the third one I've read, but it's always an interesting read, to say the least.

The nicest thing was how happy you seemed about everything! The video sounds exciting, I can't wait 'til I get to see it. The first thing I thought when looking at all those pictures from it was, Woah. How're they gonna put all that stuff in the video? But I'm sure it'll be awesome once it's edited. It looks very funny.

And that parade *does* seem surreal. It could almost be a cheesy coming-of-age movie. You follow this girl's struggle with her sexuality and then at the end she comes out and goes to a parade, and Amanda Palmer's there! And everyone chants out her lyrics! Think about how awesome that was for the kids. A funny note about sexuality, for a couple of years I thought I was bi, I really did, but then, it just hit me, I don't really like girls all that much. I'd had a girlfriend and I cared for her greatly, and we fooled around and stuff, but...I just wasn't attracted to her. I was 13 at the time. I think, for me, I really did just want to be an outsider, which is a strange thing, but the truth. I'm not too old, though, so my fingers are crossed, ha. (I suppose in your day you got a tattoo or dyed your hair green to be rebellious, eh?)

I don't want to make this too long or anything, and I hope you read this. I wanted to let you know that, as an aspiring musician, you are one of my biggest influences and that your lyrics speak to me like very few others'. So, it's very cool to get a chance, even in an outlet like a blog comment, to tell you that, since I don't think I'll ever get to meet you. I'd love to come to The Dresden Dolls show in Dallas in June, but my parents are...well, my parents, and not jumping at the chance to allow me to go.

Anywho! Have fun in France! Relax, with your zen alarm clock! And just DO NOTHING but sip wine and be very French. I suggest trying out the accent, purely for scientific purposes. See if it rubs off on you.

andrea said...

It's taken me awhile to get on here and comment. I don't quite know why but I feel guilty and neglectful. Sorry.

Anyways, enough of that. You're in France. Good for you. It's nice to get away. Especially to a place that you've really been wanting to go. And...I know you're playing at The Fringe and in a Spiegeltent no less. That must be an amazing feeling to have that to look forward to. I hate saying that it's one of those things that I need time to plan and prepare to go to, but it is. If you're there in August 08 then I'm going. That will be more than enough of an incentive to get me over the ocean.

Ok, Regina Spektor. I definitely agree with your album order. However, I think 11:11 is worth buying. It's different, there's almost a primitive feel to it, like the Fauves, but there's a few little gems on there that shouldn't be missed. Love Affair and Pavlov's Daughter. I love Pavlov's Daughter. I think that song is pure, unfiltered, Regina Spektor genius.

I think someone mentioned Imogen Heap in a comment. I think she's worth mentioning. You probably already know some of her stuff. Her album Speak For Yourself is good. It's the only one I've really listened to. I watched some of her performances on youtube. She definitely does her thing.

The Avril thing. This could go on and on. The never ending Avirl discussion of her musical regression. I say let it go. There's still that one good album she put out. I mean I like Kelly Clarkson. I can't help it, she fascinates me, i like her. People tease me. Fuck them. Avril is to Amanda as Kelly is to Andrea. That's how it is. I think you get it.

Shores vid shoot sounds amazing. Can't wait to see it. I'm excited for all the newness that's coming this summer. And someone should youtube that lipsynching video =)

When you wrote about tripping over the steps and breaking the mug after meditating I immediantly thought of Elizabeth Gilbert and how she'd love that. Yes, I finished Eat,Pray,Love about a week ago. Thank you so much for recommending it back to everyone. Amazing book. Definitely a new favorite. She's someone I'd love to run into while traveling. I finished another book a day or so ago. It's called Water For Elephants. It was really good. One of the first fiction books I've read in a long time. It's about this young guy who unintentionally joins the circus back in the early 1930's when they still traveled by train. The author mixes in true events which makes it even more interesting. It's worth reading, fo sho.

side note: i'm eating pomegranate blueberry almonds. so good.

"i've never seen him not play from the darkest depths of his fucking heart." - now you know how we feel when we watch you.

I think I have to end this comment. My eyes are getting heavy with sleep. Don't worry about having to bottle up all the piles of happiness building up around you. Just look what you have to look forward to for the rest of the year. from what i've heard, it looks damn good. I think there will be enough joy to go around.

all my love,


andrea said...

Something I almost forgot
Morrissey came to town the other night.
I missed the show but my friend didn't.
She said it was amazing.
And she also thought I'd really like the opener, Kristeen Young.
I checked her myspace.
She kicks some serious ass.
I thought I'd pass her along to you.
She's a piano basher.
I think you'll like her.


David said...

Andrea, thanks for your comments. I want MORE Regina. Appreciate your "little gems" recommendations. The "Songs" that Amanda recommends is like $30 at Amazon! Why, I wonder? Oh well, it's worth it, Regina is so fucking amazing.

And that Kristeen Young looks pretty interesting too! And yes, we love Amanda because she too shares from the "darkest depths". And her lyrics are so clever, accessible, deep and direct.

Amanda's going to have the best summer ever!

andrea said...


hope this makes you breath a little easier.



ElliotManning said...

Also, how was it for you to listen to "First Orgasm" on the Duckboat? Did it ever feel weird to you to be listening to that particular song on a bus full of teens?

Horrible Hippie said...

I wrote you a poem once... I'm not sure if you remember it and I hope it didn't offend you any, it really was from the deepest parts of my heart. I said something stupid afterwards about "not being a FUCKING Christian"... Which had absolutely nothing to do with the poem or why I was writing... And I'm a little embarrased. It had more to do with what I was going through in life at that time, (I live on a bible belt in Canada) it was just on the surface and biteing my ass so hard that it came out with the rest of the emotion that was there, knowing that it was something you might be reading. So, if you remember, if you don't; it's all good, I just needed to absolve myself. :) Here's the poem again:

it's pretty far down on that page, you can search "03/15/2007" and pop right to it. There's also some good poetry on that one, if you're interested. Or the poem itself is called "My Dear Amanda", which you could also search to find it. I hope you do if you can find the time.


Reading your blogs/of your music: You expose yourself like a dark and much lower vocally ranged Joni Mitchell. And I love Joni Mitchell. And I think I love you, in the way that a girl who knows only your work could. But if you've never gotten into Joni's music, the album Blue is one of the best albums ever made, imo. And when I read your fearless (well, maybe not all the time) exposure to the world, I wish I could write back to you as if I knew you closely. Not because I'm obsessed or from some sick place... It's just difficult not to feel that way. I'm sure you understand.

One day I would like to meet you. I'm a musician and I want to play music for a living, in a big way; a dream that you once had I'm sure. I want to take it travelling, I want to see my name up in lights for some strange reason a little beyond narcissism. I have this vision, these ideas, these binders and binders of songs and snippits and sometimes, because you're so open... It's such an inspiration to me, I can't even explain. It's refreshing. It's a reason to think that I CAN play music, and the sort that I want to, and still make it somewhere if I try. Maybe I'll fail, but maybe I won't; you didn't. You said sometimes you don't know how you got so lucky... I can't say it's luck. You were born talented enough to write music that doesn't suck... You made this happen, I think. You had a dream and you went after it. I've entertained the idea for years that if you've got a dream or a vision or an idea you feel you need to see through, but you might be worried of this, that or the other... You just need to push through and do your best and it'll probably happen if you continue pushing through (and you don't suck). Some people who suck even make it, so why can't you or I???

Let's start at the beginning here... My finding your music with the Dresden Dolls was like your finding Regina Spektor or Bright Eyes for the first time. I thought music was dead and dieing! I was doing a radio show for the local University and listening to music and similarily to your feelings, it had become almost business-like. Or at least it was detached from the meaning that some music has for me so strongly. It was this constant search for Canadian content and music that was produced but not completely generic; something effective. That radio show in general opened my eyes up to a lot of really great new music that I had no idea was out there. I had clearly lost faith and thank fucking god it was restored. A world with only what I thought was out there was like a black and white one with the odd rainbow reflection shining through something translucent, and this radio show helped me to bring full colour back into the picture. And this is where I found you; it must've been the third or fourth week after Yes, Virgina...'s release that I noticed it on the shelf. I grabbed the CD from the 'new release' wall, which we had a quota to play from, and was immediately drawn into the cover art. There was this feel like 'this is something different'. Maybe it was the political feel with the heart and the plane crossed with a pen or maybe it was how much sense the combination of images made to me personally, on an artistic level but I was drawn to it immediately. I popped it open, took a look, opened the left panel and saw you and Brian on the right like a little billboard team, not knowing yet who you were or that these pictures were even the band members, let alone what you sounded like... Okay, maybe I'm getting a little overly descriptive but... Fuck, I can't explain how... Maybe I can: I tell people this, "Finding The Dresden Dolls was like finding Nine Inch Nails for the first time for me." How's that for a fucking compliment? I love you guys. I love your music, I love your SOUL, I love your freedom, I love... That you're aware; aware enough to see what's happening to so much music, and motivated enough to make a change. I LOVE YOU AMANDA PALMER AND WE'VE NEVER EVEN MET! You make me want to cry because you're thankful. Music is what I want to do and have since long before I had heard of you and your stance as an artist is humble, and that's what I want to be; humble. I hope that one day, the love and the insane nagging guilt when I DON'T do what I need to do for myself (write songs, PLAY, create this dream even on a small scale) brings me to carrying out my executed plan... And hopefully, I will get to meet you like you got to meet Regina Spektor, one day. And maybe, here's the real goal, you'll even contact me saying "Hey... I'm the girl from the Dresden Dolls, can I have a CD?" :P I hope you don't hate Internet smilies, for all my use of them.

What is your opinion on Internet smilies? :D

I also wondered if you've ever studied the Occult? Or what your general take on Spirituality is? I'm sure you're very open minded but I'd love to hear you ramble on about natural law, values, lack thereof, the word 'God', or any thing remotely like that. Some one once said that the word 'God' is a dead word, or at least a four letter one, equating it to shit or fuck. I know the subject is taboo, I know it's a tough subject and I'm aware you're possibly agnostic or aetheist but I'm interested nonetheless.

There was one last thing... I have some covers of two of your songs. I like playing covers because if a song inspires me enough, playing it is like embodying the music that I love and there's just nothing like that. I just learned how to make videos on my computer the other day... So when I finally find someones' make-up kit to borrow, I'll paint my face all up and make a video of myself playing it on the guitar and send it on into your web site. Hopefully they'll put it up, it looks like they display quite a lot of fan work. That's really cool.

If I ever do get some music... Even the first steps, I'm posting it on here for you. I already have some but it's not anything I want to show any one save close friends for right now. But I want to send it to you, not because I want to vicariously strike a record deal or because I think YOUR hearing it will get me anywhere... But because I want you to hear it. I hope you understand the honesty in what I'm saying here... I never type with three periods. That's honesty. I want to do this as independantly as I can, in fact... That's a bit of a lie. I would like to play with a band but I've had such a hard time finding people who understand what I want to do, I play the drums and have for over 10 years as well as the guitar so I'm just going to record layers MYSELF. I'm digressing... It's just been frusterating trying to find bandmates. It's really been a thorn in the side of what I want to do, because I do want a full band backing me eventually. I'm getting to the point where I'm saying 'fuck it', I'll do like Trent did, or Bjork just because there doesn't seem to be any one out there who really gets the ideas I have.

I need to wrap this up because I'm getting scared. Scared of what you'll think, scared you'll think I want something, scared you might think I expect some sort of friendship or even a responce to this; I don't want anything from you. If I want anything, it's to have you keep on going and doing exactly just what you're doing. I want you to know you're appreciated, though I know you do. I want you to know you're humble, I don't care what any one thinks of you, I can see it in interviews. I can see that you're just the girl who appreciates life and sound, unless of course you've got a splitting headache or are experiencing some heartbreak or what have you... I feel I get you. But I'm scared of you because being at this 'top', you're so far away and down there at the 'bottom' it's so lonely. Anyway, I hope you get me too.

Take care my dear Amanda, Canada loves you! Come play here more often if you can, or take your next vacation to B.C.. I don't know if it's got the atmosphere that inspires you like France does, but hell, I wouldn't doubt if it did. I don't know, I've never been there but I hear its' cultured, crazy and wonderful; full of artsy fartsies and art fags, like you.

Take care fag, BAH! wahaha, just kidding.

Becky, in Alberta

Nixy said...

I just wanted to say thank you very much! You inspired me to do things my way. Sometimes I am concentrating so hard on doing things the proper "right" way that I forget what it is that makes me happy in the first place. I have been reading your journal for a while now, and it has been inspirational in every way. I am planning to get in shape again (because I let myself go) and backpack across europe collecting poetry and photographs for a book I want to write. A lot of things in your music and posts make me think about our perception of life, and I reached the conclusion that people like certain things just because they were prgrammed to. It gives me hope because I know that people can reprogram themselves and open their minds and hearts to other people. It can be so hard to remember the things that matter but your music reminds me of those things so again, thank you. :D

Also, I started listening to Regina Spektor thanks to you.


the_skyisfalling said...

you leave the day I come back. Your reality ends as mine has to (sigh) begin again.

In short - next time, take me with you, okay?

Mel :)

David said...

Andrea- thank you. CD Baby is great! I found another CD there too by Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams which I've been looking for for a while. Great prices!

superprofundo said...

I am sure you get messages like this all the time, but there are moments when I feel like sitting down and talking to you would make a day better. The way you write reminds me of a friend that I don't talk to nearly as much as I wish I could.
I greatly enjoy your view on life.

I have a question that you naturally have the freedom to choose to not answer. I was wondering how your life differs from being on tour to not, and I mean it in the sense of the people you are around? Is it a hard thing to adjust to when you work on an album, and tour with Brian and then both of you split off to do other things? I think I understand the need to do your own things, and after being with someone for so long you need time to yourself, but are there times when with anyone you just stop and think "wow, life it weird when (insert person name) is not around"?

I assume you get asked something like that a lot, but it doesn't stop me from being curious.

Stephen said...

Hi, Amanda.

Found this absolutely wonderful blog of yours while doing research to try and contact you. I sent e-mails to two of your addresses, one on your Dresden Dolls site and one on a site I found about your work with living statues. Since I also found this blog, I figured I would try and cover all the bases I could! Both e-mails contain two questions for you, one a sort-of business question and the other a creative proposition. Not sure if you've read them already but I am very interested in your opinion on both matters! I hope you can get back to me whenever it's convenient for you.



P.S.--The story about the parade is beautiful. I know the strange feeling of hearing music that has only been in your own head suddenly being performed by other people. I never get over how crazy that is.

Wolf said...

Sigur Ros! I have one song from them that I downloaded ages and ages ago. *nod* I don't understand it (though, I'm pretty sure it's a love song, which makes me cringe) I find it amazing. Have listened to it on repeat many, many times. Need to buy more.

Hannah said...

Hi Amanda. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. First, I absolutely love your blogs. You come off as very authentic, which I think is a good quality in artists and human beings in general.

I'm very much looking forward to your next album. Ben Folds was my very favorite artist throughout high school, and Amanda Palmer + Ben Folds is about the closest thing I can think of to Orgasmic Musical Perfection.

Keep making lovely noises with your piano and voice. You're really very good at that.

P.S. I have adopted the term "noga" and will attempt to use it next time my boyfriend nags me about not doing enough of it.

David said...

Got Regina Spektor's "Songs" from CD Baby (they shipped it FAST and cheap). Only listened through once so far but there will be more listenings. Really like her melodic sense and her courage. Lyrics are strange, but in a good way.
"So cheap and juicy" -lyric from That Time

the_skyisfalling said...

hey amanda.
glad to hear you're okay.

hope to hear from you soon,

andrea said...

Did you know Miranda July just put out a book?

I didn't until just a few minutes ago. Then I thought of you.

Plus she made a very "July-esque" website to promote it.

The site alone will make you smile =)

all my love,


A Unique Alias said...

My head would explode if I had that much going on. (But it is great to be able to have a look in without having to worry about headsplosions.)

David said...

Andrea, thanks to you again for the Miranda July link. You were right- I laughed out loud when the burners came on on her stove. And CD Baby came through fast and cheap. Definitely will be shopping there again.

So, what does Amanda think of Miranda?

Shouldn't you be about done with your Actual Fucking Vacation by now? Getting ready for some tour dates? ... please post to your adoring webfans as soon as you catch your breath. if you can actually catch your breath ...

Anonymous said...

How strange it must be to be you. Hm. *ponders*

I have a recommendation. If you haven't already, read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

David said...

Please see Amanda performing Radiohead's hit "Creep" on ukulele to an intimate audience. Give it some time, it's worth it. OMFG.

Confusion Say said...

Oh, my this is a long read. Hmm...I will have to save this for after work.

So I have a book recommendation for ya:

"Geek Love"

Confusion Say said...

So, I'm about half way through.

Since there was the topic of other artists, I'll throw this in here.

Have you heard of Jenny Owen Youngs? Her song "Fuck was I" is pretty damn good. The lyrics are pretty compelling.

David said...

Confusion- Thank you for Jenny. Very interesting!

sunitaitaita said...

It makes me feel better to know that someone famous does the talk-out-loud-in-a-frenzied-state-until-you-catch-yourself-then-keep-going-anyway thing. Thank you.

faeriewings said...

Please be my next airplane seat neighbour. The last random person I sat next to spilled his beer on me... twice.

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