Recorded Conversations: New Favorites from 2012

Welcome to “Recorded Conversations,” an occasional feature where all the Addison Recorder editors contribute their thoughts about a question, idea, or prompt. Everyone will chime in, and then we see where the conversation wanders.

Question: To ring in the New Year on the Recorder, we look to our recent past and ask “What new thing (or things) that you discovered in 2012 has become one of your favorites?”

I need to limit myself on this one. When this idea first trickled across my brain it was as an idea for a full-blown article, not a shorter Conversation piece, so my apologies if I try to cram too much in. I have three distinct answers, and I have no idea which would win out above the others, so…I’ll tackle all three!

1. Bluegrass (and bluegrass-inspired) music

She’s from Southern California, but damn if she doesn’t sing like she’s from a coal town in Appalachia.

I’m starting off with this because I don’t think I have ever written about music on the Recorder before. Honestly, it’s just not a medium that gets a lot of deep thought out of me. If I like the music, then grand. If not, well, why annoy myself by listening? I don’t really get far beyond that because my interests are much more tied to narrative and visual forms of expression. Music is a bit too esoteric and pattern-based for my math-hating brain to really embrace as anything but a mood-setter.

However, I spend all day at work in front of a computer, which means I have lots of time to listen to music while my brain is occupied with other things. With the aid of Pandora and Spotify this has meant that I have been noodling around with the musical genres and forms that I like, finding new artists and other albums to fill in my day. Last year, urged on by my pre-existing love for Gillian Welch and the TV show Justified (which is back TONIGHT; gadzooks, I may need to write about that), I delved deeper into the sounds of bluegrass and its associated styles.
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Andrew’s Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Guide to Doctor Who, Part II

Mentioning Mr. Smith at the conclusion of Part I makes me ponder the differences between the three doctors since the resurrection. All of them were and are marvelous, all for different reasons.

Christopher Eccleston, a rugged, intense actor who could play big-budget movie supervillains, Jude the Obscure opposite Kate Winslet, and the most modern of troubled men in Our Friends in the North, was a great 9th Doctor, interpreting his character as that of the loneliest battle-scarred man in the world, a condition magnified by his Spartan ensemble of a leather jacket and all black clothing. The 9th Doctor’s whole modus operandi, in my opinion, was that he wanted to put the recent past behind him in some way despite thinking it was impossible: in his attempt to forget the horrors of war, he sought out adventure, excitement, and eventually when he didn’t think it would hurt his heart, friendship and love, and embraced them a little too eagerly but always with brio.  And when he found all of the above in his travels with Rose Tyler, Season 27 was the story of a man coming back to life.

But then came David Tennant.

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Andrew’s Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Guide to Doctor Who, Part I

Warning in advance: this article will contain plenty of River Song’s favorite things.


I am about to make a statement which will probably surprise a lot of sci-fi devotees, maybe even shock them.

Due to the caprices of PBS pledge drive scheduling, the first story I ever saw was “The Mysterious Planet,” the first four installments of The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long story featuring the horrendously dressed, loudmouth, and usually really damn annoying 6th Doctor of Colin Baker.

And yet, I kept watching, and falling all the more in love with, Doctor Who.

(“The Mysterious Planet” is actually a pretty good story, and Tony Selby’s Sabalon Glitz was an excellent forerunner of characters like Jack Harkness.)

Doctor Who is now in the midst of its 33rd season, about to celebrate 50 years on the air. And yes, I said 33rd. Most Americans call it season 7. Netflix and the DVD industry and fans call it season 7. But the Guardian, and at least a few people who hope they don’t sound too pretentious (present company included) think of it as season 33. Because it really is.

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We’re still here (and we have things planned)!

Hello world,

Sorry for the long break in our correspondence, but life can get in the way of many things. Sadly, for the past month or so, life has been getting between us and our beloved Recorder for one reason or another. But have no fear, for Alex, Andrew, ~J, and Travis are all doing well and will soon be back with a vengeance.  The rest of the boys will get their work on here in good time, but I wanted to chime in and let our readership know about a few of the projects that I have been working on and plan to spit out soon.

Firstly, I am and will remain your devoted TV viewer, and so I am starting a recurring feature where I will drop an article every week or two about one of the shows that I keep tabs on. This will give me a chance to expound on all the programs that I dearly love (or still tolerate), without breaking my neck trying to do a weekly recap of absolutely everything. That’s what The A.V. Club is for.

Secondly, the awards season for films is quickly approaching, and since I have a longstanding fascination with the simultaneously excellent and awful horse race that is Oscar season I will be chiming in with coverage of that. I’m going to endeavor more to cover the films themselves, on their artistic merits (as I have with surefire Oscar contenders Moonrise Kingdom and The Master), but will likely devote a few posts to the race itself as well. Also, I plan to complain a lot about how the Academy consistently mishandles how to present itself and its mission (Seth MacFarlane!?! Really?!?).

Finally, I am planning on working through one of my burning shames as a cinephile. Many of my friends and colleagues know that I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers, the filmmaking siblings behind such modern classics as Fargo, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country for Old Men. What I rarely let on when I discuss the Coen’s work is that I have not seen huge swaths of their filmography. Every cinephile has many blind spots, and one of my most glaring ones is that I have not seen any of the films that the Coen Brothers have made before The Hudsucker Proxy. So, I plan on rectifying that with a series of articles wherein I will watch (or re-watch as the case may be) and write about every Coen film up to 2010’s True Grit. I think it will be illuminating to travel through their eclectic resume in a (relatively) short span of time, and if this is a hit, maybe I will do the same with other filmmakers or movements that I am woefully underseen on.

Anyway, that’s the plan of attack for yours truly. I’ll see you in the comments section.

P.S. I am going to write my essay about it someday, but if you’ve been holding your breath since the 1st week of July the best show on TV last year was Louie. It will also be the best show on TV this year. My thoughts about it will appear when I do not feel hopelessly intimidated and over-matched by its genius.