05 November 2009
Remember, Remember, 5th November
Because not only is it the anniversary of Gram Parson's birthday, the fiftieth birthday of a Canadian singer and photographer (both of whom are well-represented in the British Library Sound Archive), it is also the alt-country musician and former Whiskeytown front-man Ryan Adams' 35th birthday.
Why do I mention this? Partly because my previous posts have mostly been stuck in the eighteenth century, but there is also contemporary literary connection as well. Adams has also published a couple of poetry books, including a signed chapbook (Sad American Mythology, which is held by the Library, along with Infinity Blues and Little Sunshine), and writes for Black Book Magazine. You can watch an interesting discussion about this between him and Marie-Louise Parker at The New York Public Library on line, as well. Adams' music has also inspired some good writing, notably Nick Hornby's piece on Oh My Sweet Carolina in McSweeney's (Heartbreaker's 'perfect, still centre, its faint heartbeat').
Adams is published by Akashic Books, one of the more anarchic and interesting of the U.S. small publishers that we like to ensure are available in the BL. The fifth of November has other meanings in the UK, of course; and in recent years has perhaps surprisingly taken on something of an anti-establishment tone, not least in popular culture. All the more reason for this short posting mentioning one of the publishers committed to the 'reverse-gentrification of the literary world'.