[Jandek] what is the status of his health?

Paul Condon paulgcondon at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 11:00:06 PST 2005

Incidentally, Jandek didn't wear his hat at the Glasgow piano gig in May.
Another possible explanation for his thinness is suggested by some of the
lyrics on recent albums. On the title track of Worthless Recluse he
expresses ambivalence about eating: "I hope I can live till tomorrow and the
next day without eating / I'm fed up with eating for a while".
In Real Afternoons he seems to be disgusted with other people's consumption:
"There's only one altar / That's the refrigerator / Where you keep your
You Ancient suggests a quasi-religious approach to diet: "Oh you ancients of
the food god / You who showed us how to eat / Which things to eat into our
body / And pass through while we stay alive / I want to thank you for your
Several other songs suggest an ascetic lifestyle and uncomfortableness with
materialist modern life, like You Know You Need: "You'd be surprised at how
simple your intake can be / You got to clean out the house / Take out all
the things you don't want". This relates to the spiritual concerns that
dominate the bulk Jandek's releases from Put My Dream On This Planet
Of course, looking for clues about Jandek in the lyrics is problematic and
fallible, but I feel more comfortable about this sort of speculation rather
than commenting on rumours (though the rumour in this case is a natural
enough reaction). I just want to suggest that his appearance may be at least
partially due to an abstinent lifestyle. This is not to deny the possibility
that he is or has been suffering from an illness. However he is obviously
not too ill to travel and perform fairly lengthy sets. His age alone would
be enough of an incentive to finally get it together to play live anyway.
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