Mavis Still Takes You There

At eighty-two, Staples asked God why she was still alive. “The only reason I could see is to sing my songs,” she said.Photograph by Paola Kudacki for The New Yorker

In the New Yorker, David Remnick recounts the time he spent with Mavis Staples in her Chicago home base.

At 82, she shares her history as a part of a family band that brought gospel to the masses and emerged as an important voice in the civil rights movement.

As an early teen, I was introduced to The Staple Singers’ and their song “I’ll Take You There” on Soul Train. At the weekly post-show Teen Center visit, the song was on heavy rotation as well as the politically charged “Respect Yourself. “

I was lucky enough to see her open for Bonnie Raitt a few years ago. As a regular touring partner, Raitt says, “She’s never cranky. She has an abiding belief in God and His plan and believes the world is moving toward a higher and more loving world.”

The Rise of Dissociation Music

In Pitchfork by Jayson Greene.

Graphic by Marina Kozak (Photos via Getty Images)

“From indie rock to SoundCloud rap, artists are combating the hell of modern existence with blank detachment in their voices.”

  • The cultural critic Rayne Fisher-Quann, who coined the term, also gave a name to the larger aesthetic—“lobotomy-chic”—and trawling TikTok or Twitter you can find countless riffs on the idea, from fake Claire’s ads advertising “self-care” lobotomies to Doomer memes about the hopelessness of escaping late capitalism. Lack of affect is the new affect.
  • The approach reminds me of the BuzzFeed essay “The Smartest Women I Know All Are Dissociating,” which went viral in 2019, inspired in part by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag character.
  • The term “dissociation” was coined by Pierre Janet in 1889 in the book-length scientific study L’automisme psychologique. For Janet, “dissociation” defined how the memory of trauma split itself off from the rest of the self, where it could not be internalized or assimilated. Patients suffering dissociative episodes might find that they were reenacting the trauma in any number of alarming or humiliating ways.
  • The only way words interest Dean Blunt is as symbols of meaninglessness, yellow traffic lights blinking down an empty road.

Related: On NPR “Stop doomscrolling and get ready for bed. ” We value productivity so much that we pack our days,” says Lauren Whitehurst, a cognitive neuroscientist and sleep researcher at the University of Kentucky. Revenge bedtime procrastination, she says, “is really a kind of commentary on [our lack of down time.]” It’s not about the inability to sleep – it’s about delaying sleep in an effort to assert some kind of control over your time.

Hat tip MIT Technology Review.

Jayson Greene on Twitter

Jayson Greene’s Book: “Once More We Saw Stars


“my tv antenna at different times of the year and day.” photo by Civilistjävel!

Sasha- Frere-Jones’ newsletter brings dear readers his musical finds. Always worth sampling. If you want a slow, sound experience check out Civilistjävel!

“The fastest way to learn about Civilistjävel!: try this recent DJ set on NTS and then buy Järnnätter, his fantastic new album. In a world of autopilot drone buddies and Burial weed carriers, Civilistjävel! makes an honest loaf of dread. This is gorgeous, stately, re-centering stuff. I cannot imagine a single person reading this who would not have some use for Järnnätter. There are other releases, none of them easily found.”

S/FJ interview with him.

The June issue.

The dandy Hamish Bowles is Vogue magazine’s global editor at large. Last year he was also named as the new editor-in-chief at The World of Interiors.

Bowles in his New York apartment.

The magazine has always been a lush indulgence, especially the print editions. With a few issues under his belt, it’s clear that he was the right choice by her Royal Highness Anna Wintour.

It’s not all fancy houses of the rich and famous either. He’s continued with a good mix of high and lowish-brow interiors from around the world. I’ve especially enjoyed the wallpaper coverage

As my friend said “I think it’s fitting for Hamish since he was raised by that magazine.”

WOI on Instagram

Hamish on Instagram

Chez Baldwin

Some of the sounds that filled the abode of James Baldwin in St. Paulde-Vence, a town in the south of France. These songs document the vinyl records left behind in Chez Baldwin after his death in 1987.

Lois and her Accordion

1966. At cousin Doris and Dick’s place in the country. Everybody played instruments and sang. That’s Lois on the accordion and me clowning in the front.

My mom Lois got her first accordion when she was about 12. She was a  depression-era farm girl and such a big purchase was an extravagance.

Her dad made a deal with her that he would match any money she made picking and selling blackberries . After plenty of scrapes from the berry bushes she finally had saved enough to buy her first accordion.

She was self-taught on the piano and while the mechanics were basically the same, she was now slinging a big, huffing, and puffing machine pushing out the sounds.

Fast forward to 1967 and the divorce was in motion. Lois finally felt comfortable spending time with the fun side of her family.

The main stage was at Cousin Doris and Dick’s house in the country. Every weekend the various players, friends, and their sprawling families gathered in their living room. There was cheap beer and cigarettes. Kids were running all over the place.

Doris was lead vocals, (the voice of a country angel IMHO) guitar, and wrote many of the songs. Dick would be picking wildly on the mandoline. Lois on the accordion and harmonizing, Uncle Dale, recently back from Viet Nam, was on drums.

The music leaned heavily toward country with vocal harmonies. There was yodeling too. As well as the originals, there were some classics in the repertoire. Included were the best of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynne, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner, and Johnny Cash. I remember the slightly risque “Harper Valley PTA” too.

Lois did a gut wrenching version of “The Legend of the Green Beret,” an anthem to boost the morale of the soldiers in Viet Nam. … more

Next Last Week

Ethel Cain

Ethel Cain‘s first album Preacher’s Daughter is a maudlin, quiet record. I’m not sure what it’s about yet, but it’s good for a slow morning start.

The New YorkTimes profile declares her the “I don’t want to be a celebrity, celebrity.”

Review in The Guardian.

Stevie Wonder’s 1974 concert on German TV show Musikladen-Beat Club

Here’s a ridiculously great performance by Stevie Wonder. The band and vocalists are right there with him climbing to a higher ground. This is smack in the middle of his early 70’s streak of perfect albums.

Fashion Puppets 2

Upped my marionette game tonight with wooden dowels, eye hooks, and some black strong string for moving the bits on a future stage. Once the limbs and so forth are jointed together, I can cycle in different heads and couture.


This interview with Lyle Lovett was so gracious. You can tell the guy really likes being a dad. The perfect ingredient is that Francine Reed returns to sing on his new album 12th of June. Francine used to work with my mom at a law firm in Phoenix in the 70s and she would go to her dates around town. If you can get past Scott Simon’s awkward guffaws and “My word”s it’s worth it.

The Linda Lindas

I like the new record by The Linda Lindas Growing Up. Noisy and fun to bounce around to.

The End of April

“Computer, play Cal Tjader” – Chiling as much as you can.

Book reading:

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art – Much needed read about the transformative effects of nose breathing.

Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand by John Markoff – Wonderful stories of the low-key guy in the middle of so much that has happened in society starting in the 60s and then the internet.

Magazine reading:

Elle Decor Sweden – which is good as you would think

Vanity Fair: Free Radicals: They’re not MAGA. They’re not QAnon. In the crucible of 2022 conservatism, the power brokers are influenced by an intellectual new right that envisions itself as the most dangerous sort of cool. VF reports from the party at the end of the world. by James Pogue


Instead of Magic: An exhibition by new work by Jason Thompson

My olde Flickr collection.