Going to Hay reminded me of two things; firstly I like reading clever books and should do more of it else my head will atrophy, secondly that I needed to subscribe to McSweeny’s. Whilst I was in the process of sorting out the latter I spotted a special offer they were running to get both McSweeny’s and The Believer at a combined low price. As you amy have spotted last week I discovered a band I like an awful lot thanks to The Believer’s website so a subscription seemed worth a shout. On Monday the first issue arrived and it’s a cracker. I shall now quote extensively from the first article:

“Can We Camp at Your Feet” brings this difficulty into relief, suggesting what is frankly heretical in most sects of Christianity, that the believer should take his or her faith directly to the unnamed omnipotence (Christ is almost never mentioned in the entirety of the Danielson oeuvre, for example), around the intervening authorities, the bishops, ministers, etc., around the commentators who say it should be done this way and no other way. In doing so, the song proceeds toward a truly magnificent instrumental coda in which, after the line “your love will have your way,” there is a beautiful overdubbed exhalation, by the vocal chorus, and this exhalation, the breath of God, I guess, recurs through the chord progression, while the backup singers sing the word “good,” from the good news of the last line, and the drummers stop and start in some kind of martial style, with myriad snare rolls, and the song threatens to end three times, always with these exhalations, the breath of God, the thing worshipped brought near, away from the history of a religion, away from the religious controversies of the moment, away from the sectarianism, away from the battles between Christianity and Islam, away from the anti-Semitism of fundamentalism, and in a musical style that any smart kid on any college campus in this country would recognize and respond to, a musical idiom that is full of instruments actually being played, instead of machines being played, mistakes and awkwardnesses preserved, barely an amplifier turned on, all because this is the way things really are, they are insurmountable, they are irreconcilable; it’s hard to get through any twenty-four hour period, that’s what it means to be a Christian artist, it means that you
understand what it’s like to be here, and you don’t presume to know more, you presume to care about what other people think and feel, which is emphatically what most Christians do not do, that’s how it is.

Rick Moody on How To Be A Christian Artist and the Danielson Famile. This resonates somewhat.

Note: OCR has greatly improved since I last used it. This makes me hopeful for progress on all fronts.