Sunday morning is everyday for all I care.

Yesterday I went to Chopin’s eternal home in Pere Lachaise. It was too quiet. I half expected some starving Parisian to be hammering out a bare-bones nocturne on an accordion but no, Chopin’s only company were the cemetery cats. I followed one cat into a sepulture and found that everything was well arranged – newspaper to sleep on, a bit of food – this was his home.

lay'n out

There were also cemetery cats hunting pigeons over at Oscar Wilde’s grave. Oscar was at home too, sound asleep under a monument covered in fresh lip-stick kisses. The epitaph said:

“And alien tears will fill for him
pity’s long broken urn
for his mourners will be outcast men
and outcasts always mourn.”

It occurred to me only too late to take some paper and crayons and make a few rubbings like Indiana Jones would do. Surely Dr. Jones would have had these things on hand; he never went anywhere without his hat, whip, and messenger bag. He knew what it was to be a stranger, but with his essentials he was never far from home.

So here I’ve packed a few strange/home essentials. Strange like, ‘Hey, I saw you with some strange last night,’ and  ‘Did you end up getting some strange?’ only reversed – you are the ‘strange’ to be gotten. Lonesome isn’t it? Well, it’s good for your art.

I can’t have you getting too comfortable. Indiana sleeps with one eye open (and one hand on some foreigner’s thigh) so the following tracks are mostly variations of the sometimes over played originals…

David Byrne and Brian Eno‘s 2009 Everything That Happens Will Happen Today won a Grammy for best packaging. Stefan Sagmeister was the artist. In this interview Stefan mentions Brian Eno’s diary, A Year with Swollen Appendices. I read what I could without buying the diary. It sounded smart and relaxed.
Strange Overtones (Live Version) – David Byrne and Brian Eno

I never thought I’d be posting a Norah Jones song – and I’m not. It’s a Tom Waits song. There’s a few cool versions of this song, one by Mates of State, but don’t be conned into listening to the Supertramp, Neil Diamond or Don Henley songs of the same title. You’ll regret it.

Long Way Home (Tom Waits cover) – Norah Jones

Win Butler wrote this next song from the perspective of Joe Simpson – the great American patriarch. It almost makes you feel sorry for Jessica and Ashlee.

“Little girl your old enough to understand,
you’ll always be a stranger in a strange, strange land,
men are gonna come while your fast asleep,
so you better just stay close and hold on to me.
If my little mocking bird don’t sing,
Then daddy won’t buy you no diamond ring.”

This is actually the studio version but on PBS’s website you can watch an ACL recording from ’07 with some good anti-Simpson banter.

(Antichrist Television Blues) – The Arcade Fire

The next cut’s just an extra smooth remix of the overplayed original.Home (RAC Mix) – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The more profound aspects of Leonard Cohen are wasted on me. He makes me feel like a minnow. Understanding can take a lifetime so I listen to him anyway. If you haven’t heard much of the original Montreal hipster start with I’m Your Man from ’88. Don’t be scared, he’s an old man now, but be warned: he will come for you.

Thematically, I’m bound to post this much older track:
The Stranger Song – Leonard Cohen

So if you’re far from home like Indianapolis Jones don’t forget your tools: your wits, your methods, your formulas. Pack that little satchel with the songs you’ll need and scrap the rest. Yes, you will run into terrible things like Joe Simpson. Yes, Joe Simpson will have a sword. Use your gun.

God speed, stranger.

Honorable mentions:
Chris Lea and the Body Parts – The Stranger
Tom Waits – I Never Talk to Strangers (duet with Bette Midler)
Paul Simon – Homeless

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    • Ben
    • March 14th, 2010

    Fantastisch.

    • Blondie
    • March 15th, 2010

    walaikum asalaam. so are you the cat or the falcon?

    • i’m the falcon. chika is the cat: harmless, but scary as hell. of course with all the lucky strike silvers she’s put in her lungs she may be closer to the cat from cinderella and with all the olives i’ve been eating i may be closer to foghorn leghorn.

    • spoony b
    • March 15th, 2010

    norah jones never put food on the table unless she was working for a tip and Mr. Pink don’t believe in tipping – I do wish she was my woman though. Me listening to Cohen must be like Otzi looking at Everest.

    • Pouria
    • March 17th, 2010

    I hope youre not bringing her to your nest of chicks. enjoy the olives. so, are you the next chika? sans lucky strikes?

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