Taste Maker

Had a great night last night at M.A.S. friend Jeff’s Lower East Side apt, a.k.a. The 2-Man Social Club Music and Literature Reference Library.  Compared notes with Jeff on fave books, which of late includes On Beauty, Zadie Smith’s third.  I’m about 90% of the way through – looking forward to climbing into bed shortly to polish off the last chunk – and am crossing my fingers that it doesn’t wrap up with a ludicrous ending, which is how I’d describe her debut, White Teeth.  She is an amazing writer.  Her individual descriptions are probably more compelling than the overall story.

I desperately miss all the fiction I consume when I am not in school, and wandering through Jeff’s collection was pure joy.  Seeing all the books I’ve read in the last couple years, I wonder how many of them have been optioned by Hollywood.  For awhile it seemed all the books I’d read years ago were being turned into films, and I prided myself on what a friend of mine called “my money-making taste.”  Driving home from NYC today with the M.A.S. flipping through my iTunes, I realized this applied to my musical choices as well. 

My musical taste is pretty varied, from Zero 7 and EBTG and other electronica to soft rock, particularly from the 1979-1983 years when my parents were newly divorced and I was spending monthly weekends in Boston with my dad and living with my mom in NJ.  They’d meet in New Haven on Fridays and Sundays to switch me, and 25 years later I remain especially fond of all the music I heard on the radio during those long rides up and down I-95, and generally in the car with my single mom in those years when she took me along just about most places she went. 

Today on the Mass Pike the M.A.S. and I scroll through Daft Punk and ambient groove to Roberta Flack singing “Where is the Love.”  (For the unitiated to easy-listening-favorites, Roberta Flack is the original artist of The Fugees’s “Killing Me Softly,” and is of a caliber of Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick, minus the latter’s psychic hotline thing.)   As Roberta croons, I say to him, “don’t you feel like you’re in a department store, listening to this?”  I’m personally picturing myself in the Lord & Taylor in Philly, which is in a high-ceilinged, marble-floored, grand old building more eye-catching than any of the clothes and accessories L&T carries these days.  He laughs, and I realize that regardless of genre, a significant portion of my musical choices turn up on store soundtracks.  Zero 7’s “In the Waiting Line” may be more appropriate to a BCBG play list, but it’s there to soothe the shopping experience, nonetheless.   

Clearly I should be profiting from these preferences, but I suspect it’s going to be awhile before The Redstar Perspective takes off as a tastemaker among the 30-million blogs out there.  Of course, if my literary and musical preferences are any indicator, it’s only a matter of time before The RP becomes a web favorite of a mass audience with disposal income.  Then I can be like this chick and write full-time and finally take the M.A.S. on its urban world tour from Nashville to Nairobi.

(Madison Avenue, please note: the first $40,000 should be sent directly to my investors at Sallie Mae.)


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