In our last Letters column, we informed you how our music was bombing with today’s fifth graders. We don’t believe this letter came in reply, but it does suggest that two years make quite a difference. Brian Daignault writes:
i am a seventh grade english teacher, and this year, i put a stereo in my room — i plan a lot of activities/assignments that involve silence on the part of the kids, and music adds a nice touch — everything from aphex twin/eno to phish/the dead… mostly instrumental stuff. anyway, your music gets played quite a bit — this class we’re listening to “night falls on hoboken” — which is a favorite to some, though a few weeks ago, one of my students who is overly shy actually worked up the courage to come over and tell me to turn it off because it was driving her nuts —”mr. daignault, it never changes!” i tried to explain why some people like that, but the venture out of her shell was brief. also big hits are a few of the sounds of science tracks and the danelectro e.p. so, hopefully in six years, you’ll have a huge contingent of young and eager college fans in central new york on program planning boards lining your pockets with that filthy college activities fund money. anyway, thanks for the music.
Letter #2 —
But then again, perhaps it’s wrong to put an age to incomprehension. Reagan from Austin, Texas writes:
The following is an excerpt of an e-mail sent by a buddy of mine who works as a cameraman for videos/commercials in Los Angeles:
worked with britney a week ago or so. she didn’t understand my yo la tengo shirt. she asked what it meant while i was about to slate. i said “I got it.” she said “what? you got what?” “no britney, that’s what yo la tengo means. i have it. i got it. They’re a good band. You should check em out.” Britney said “Oh.” then went back to ignoring me.
Letter #3 —
Has Bobby caught Oscar® fever, particularly in the category Animated Feature Film, or are we just looking for a context for his long-ago received question? In either case, he asks:
Of the numerous Disney princesses, who is your favorite? Snow White? Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? That mermaid from The Little Mermaid?
I have no problem coming up with some of my favorite princes: Prince’s Hot Chicken, Steven Prince, Prince Lasha, and of course Freddy Prince Jr., but for the life of me, I can’t think of a single princess that matters to me, including all of the above. Grace Kelly? Well, she did her best work pre-coronation. As a youngster, I appeared in a children’s theater production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as one of the dwarfs. In what must be ascribed to either a cost-cutting move in the licensing department, or an attempt to torture the parents in the audience, it was not the Disney version that was mounted. There was no whistling while we worked or hi-ho hi-ho’ing, and as such the dwarf I portrayed was your favorite and mine: Flick.
And finally, twin cautionary tales from correspondents who one assumes don’t know each other:
John Waddington reports that he neglected to switch the alarm on his clock from cd to Morning Zoo and as a result found himself not awakened but plunged into dream by the slow version of “Big Day Coming” that leads off Painful. He generously tries to convince us that the dream was a pleasant one, but I wonder if his teacher or boss would agree when he finally got out of bed.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, and not so lucky, Joseph Coram was trying to fall asleep when he put on And Then Nothing Turns Itself Inside-Out. So when “Night Falls on Hoboken” did the trick, that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was the nightmare that ensued, which began with Joseph meeting the band, and proceeded to get even worse. He woke up before 5 a.m. and one imagines he would have been better off with Sominex or C-SPAN (not an endorsement — we don’t touch the stuff, either of them).