Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Monday Music Club

So the big question (after "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?") is whether or not I'm going to go see Alex Ross. Alex Ross is the New Yorker music critic who recently published a shockingly readable hisotry of 20th-century music called "The Rest is Noise." He's also my intended.

OK, not really, but if you can't have an intellectual pseudo-crush, what's left for you in life? And really, we're perfect together: I'm interested in 20th-century music; he's interested in 20th-century music. He likes to write; I like to read what he writes. My relationship with Alex is easily the most functional, conflict-free relationship I've ever had with a man. (It helps that he says what he has to say and doesn't talk back.)

Unfortunately, my elegant Titanic of a tryst is about to run smack into the iceberg of reality. Because Alex Ross is giving a talk. Four miles from my bed. For free.

I should be ecstatic. I mean, he's actually coming. We could breathe the same air! I could analyze what he's wearing! The sound waves generated by the vibration of his vocal folds could goose the tiny bones -incus, malleus, stapes- of my middle ear! Woah.

Instead I'm only mildly excited, the kind of excited I get when I have new email or the toast pops up from the toaster (yay toast). I mean, do I really need to see Alex Ross? His talk's being broadcast live on the local public radio station; I could listen to him in the comfort of my own home, a cup of tea in one hand and a bottle of bourbon in the other. The Alex I know, the Alex with whom I make sweet, sweet literary whoopee, would already be with me. Plus I'd have tea and booze.

As a reader and a listener, I've long been ambivalent about authors and composers. On the one hand, they're inconvenient, fleshy appurtenances to whatever words or music you happen to be dallying with. On the other hand, they're what vibrates your bones.

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