[Jandek] The Bowery, Beacon Hill, Biography, Brooklyn Wednesday

Matthew Elliott soccerdude219 at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 23 11:36:43 PDT 2007

I just thought you were being arrogant- apology accepted. And since I've often been accused of that unseemly trait, I guess I'm pretty sensitive to it now. 
  Maybe I'm just more interested in artists than art, but I'd find my appreciation of "Wheat Field with Crows" quite enhanced, rather than dimmed, with the knowledge that Van Gogh took his life after painting it. That example reminds me of "Unplugged in New York" by Nirvana, whose power for me has a lot to do with the fact that Kurt went the way of Van Gogh not long after that performance. At the same time, a person can know nothing about Nirvana and be blown away by that final scream in "Where Did You Sleep Last Night"- a great song is a great song, just as a beautiful painting is a beautiful painting. Yes, information can change my point of view, but it usually increases my appreciation to have more than one vantage point. I can't understand how knowing the events of Jandek's life would take away from his music. Yes, I'd interpret it differently, but its emotional meaning for me would remain the same as the first time I heard it on the radio. 
Rachel & Gary Simmons <rachelgary at cox.net> wrote:
  Matt - First off, I do apologize. This wasn't meant to be a personal 
attack on you. I actually meant to post this on the Jandek mailing 
list, but I screwed that up. Again, sorry.

My point in "posting" this rebuttal was that I do not need to know the 
personal aspects of the artist to appreciate the artist's work. I once 
read a book entitled "The Ways of Seeing" by John Berger. In this book 
there was a print of Van Gogh's "Wheat Field with Crows" and on the 
following page there was a print of Van Gogh's "Wheat Field with Crows" 
with a subscript of "This was Van Gogh's last painting before he 
committed suicide." It completely changed the way in which the 
painting is seen. It was no longer just a beautiful painting by Van 
Gogh, but something entirely different. I think if Jandek were to 
disclose the nature of his "damage" (A friend of mine had dinner with 
the man recently and confirmed that Jandek is certainly "different"), 
it would delineate the beauty of his work. In other words, it would 
diminish the beauty and power of what that art is because everything 
would be laid bare and open - hence the destruction of imagination.

I hope I this manages to clear up some things between us. I didn't mean 
to offend - just to open some discussion about what makes Jandek's art 
so powerful. My technological inefficiencies precluded any open 
discussion on this subject. Again, all apologies.

Peace to you. Enjoy the music for what it means to you.

All care.


On Jul 17, 2007, at 7:17 PM, Matthew Elliott wrote:

> I think you may be overexaggerating the nature of my inquiries- I'd 
> just like to know how much his lyrics directly reflect events in his 
> life, what inspired him to write and play music like he does, who 
> played on the records and when, and what his relations were to them, 
> etc. That's what my hypotheitcal autobiography would explain. I don't 
> care about "personal likes and dislikes" or the drab details of where 
> he lived and when.
> Also, I don't think it's absurd to be curious about Jandek's life 
> considering the profound emotional impact his music creates. He must 
> have gone through some real shit, and I'd like to know what that shit 
> is. I believe it would significantly enhance my appreciation of the 
> music. Obviously I'd never try to find out this information myself- 
> that would be rude and disrespectful. But I'd still like to know 
> it. Clearly you don't, but I don't see how it make me 
> "bizarre" to think differently.  
> I'm not sure what you were trying to communicate by blasting me, but 
> you only came off as a hardass. God forbid you find someone who's 
> really into Jandek on the Jandek mailing list...
> I'm not asking for an apology or anything, I just think that if you 
> feel this way you're better off just ignoring my posts on this subject 
> and getting on with your own life. Let me worry about mine. 
> -Matt
> Rachel & Gary Simmons wrote:
>> I'm sorry, but I have to intervene here. Jandek would never write an
>> autobiography. Why should he? Why does anyone feel the need to violate
>> this man's personal life? Let's have some mystery in our life, ok? Let
>> Jandek be Jandek and stop all this wish fulfillment. For God's sake,
>> the man gives all of himself through his music, why would anyone
>> want/need to know what his personal likes or dislikes are, what his
>> childhood experiences were like, etc? Can't you feel that through his
>> music?? Jandek's autobiography is being written as we speak - every
>> time he puts out a record! This incredible desire to know everything
>> this man does, says or feels is bizarre to me. Listen to the records
>> for fuck's sake and get on with your life!
>> Sorry to be such a bastard, but, really!
>> On Jul 16, 2007, at 12:06 PM, Matthew Elliott wrote:
>> > Interesting response, Danen, but it seems my question needs
>> > clarification: I meant if his autobiography were straight up, an
>> > unartistic narrative of his life, as if it were a Wikipedia page. 
>> The
>> > purpose of the question was thus: if Jandek changed his philosophy 
>> and
>> > became a "public" figure, granting interviews and writing said book,
>> > would his fans accept it or consider him to be comitting an act of
>> > self-heresy?
>> >
>> > "Danen D. Jobe" wrote: 
>> >> >  Which leads me to another question: if Jandek suddenly published
>> >> > his autobiography, would you read it?
>> >> He - for real - publishes it? Doesn't seem to be his focus, but 
>> what
>> >> the hell. If HE really put it out, why not? As a collector, I'd 
>> have
>> >> to have it, and I'd be interested to see how he phrased it, how the
>> >> prose connected. Judging by recent lyrics I'd say it would read 
>> like
>> >> a Beckett novel, and that most of the "events" would be
>> >> indecipherable in a realistic sense. But I don't think he's
>> >> interested in autobiography from a "novelistic" point. How his life
>> >> works into this strange dream that is Jandek's world is, I think, 
>> the
>> >> main focus of the albums post-"The Beginning." But it could all be
>> >> fiction. That's part of the fun.
>> >>  
>> >>  
>> >>  Another scenario: a crack
>> >> > team of investigative reporters find "Nancy", etc. and piece
>> >> > together the story of Jandek's life without his consent. Would 
>> you
>> >> > read that book?
>> >> Under no circumstances. He's the artist - his personal life, and 
>> the
>> >> lives of those involved as part of "Jandek," should be left alone. 
>> >> May "Nancy" have found happiness, wherever she may be. It would be 
>> so
>> >> not right to publicly expose that. But that's me.
>> >>  
>> >> P.S.: Brooklyn's coming. 4 CD set (both sets of show). I have no 
>> idea
>> >> how much, or exactly when, but it's next in line. THAT I'm excited
>> >> about. That's also all I know about it. Man, I can hardly contain
>> >> myself.
>> >>
>> >> >  
>> >> >  M.E.
>> >> >
>> >> > Alex Cook wrote: 
>> >> >      From: Michael Mellor
>> >> > Subject: [Jandek] Re: jandek Digest, Vol 55, Issue 151 - Somebody
>> >> > in the Snow
>> >> >   rambling around New York's seedier districts amidst the clatter
>> >> > of drums. The Bowery gets namechecked, and Beacon Hill, then on
>> >> > track 10 a place I can't help but imagine as St. Mark's Place:
>> >> > "yeah (huhuh) I read about your bargain basement / at the corner
>> >> > of the street…"
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> > great review of a great record. I just wanted to add my two cents
>> >> > on one minor point
>> >> >
>> >> > Beacon Hill is in Boston, and the famous bargain basement he
>> >> > refers to is likely Filene's Basement, which resides on a very
>> >> > busy corner in Boston
>> >> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filene's_Basement
>> >> > --
>> >> > --
>> >> > Alex V. Cook
>> >> > http://www.alexvcook.com
>> >> > _______________________________________________jandek mailing 
>> list
>> >> > jandek at mylist.net
>> >> > http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >      
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