by | tonybrown

Posts Tagged ‘music


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Stories are full of three letter words, little connectors that don’t hold much substance, yet often dramatically shift the direction of a sentence like ‘but’ and ‘yet’. There’s another one, too, that has hopscotched in and out of my language, my particular style of idiom, my, flavor-of-the-English class tone of writing that I find I’m using quite a bit more recently.

And that word, three letters indeed, is ‘and.’ I think it was my junior year of high school, around the time that I ditched the normal course sequence of American literature followed by British literature and creative writing for English “electives”—the courses that were split center with the students whose parents had bred and cultured since birth or shortly thereafter to write and comprehend at an advanced level—and the others who truly enjoyed the pieces and often styled their hair in ways no one else understood.

Then there were the journalism classes. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they were considered English courses simply because we produced the majority of the school’s gross domestic verbage, but I quickly learned they taught me diddley squat about prose and voice.

But anyway, it was around my junior year of high school that I really began to exercise my natural talent—spelling—and put words on a page. I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about the technical side of the language; beyond the who vs. whom debate I’m worthless, especially if you’re talking about poetry and iambic pentometers and that sort of thing. But I do know how to spell. If I’ve seen the word once, and if it’s an especially hard one, heard it once, I can most likely without a doubt probably spell it back to you.

A funny thing happened, though, as I began to craft and develop a voice in my monthly column to the Warriors of Arapahoe High and I began to notice my use of a nasty little word, the rouser of run-ons and fomenter of fragments: those three little letters spelling A-N-D.

Suddenly it was ok for me to begin a sentence with And. This was in direct violation of every teacher since Mrs. Landsford in First who had steered me clear of ‘and’ in any use other than as a three-lettered plus sign between members of a list. ‘Only one per sentence!’ she screams from the grammar department of my brain.

That department is one of my more active departments, I should say. I could say I’m not a grammar snob but that’d be untrue. Sure, I judge you when you place an apostrophe where one doesn’t belong, but it’s ok because everyone does it. Except for me of course. Like most purists of an art, especially like anyone who refers to themselves or considers themselves a purist of the art, I’m in complete denial of myself. And my mind’s inflated perception of my own popularity. That’s all beside the point, though.

There I go again, I think. Another ‘and’ stuck at the beginning of a sentence. ‘But I know the proper use,’ I think. ‘I can place it there, I have a firm grasp of the English language. Haters be damned.’

I saw David Sedaris tonight, and I can confidently say it’s worth having that experience bucket-listed.

Things I Love Today:

NPR’s Live Concert Podcasts
The Black Keys totally destroy live shows. I’ve never seen them, but I’ve now heard them via NPR’s free podcasts. What was once a band I may have paid $10 to see is now at the top of my list. NPR has a ton of live shows you can download: The Decemberists’ SXSW performance just recently went up, Ben Gibbard, Wilco, Radiohead, The Raconteurs, Of Montreal, Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes, Conor Oberst, Polyphoni…


Written by Tony

April 9, 2009 at 3:30 am

Posted in journalism, music

Tagged with , ,

Things I Love Today #7

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Irish Car Bombs
I’ve never been much of a Guinness drinker; I’m more of a wheat beer and lager guy and the dark stuff reminds me too much of coffee. But then I tried one of these frothy, smooth, rich, creamy, wonderfully delectable little concoctions. There will be plenty more of these guys sparking my evenings of fun in the not-too-distant future.

Sometime Around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event
There’s an entire night of regrets and lost-out-on love in this little ditty. I know I’m late to the blogosphere on the Event, but this song is worth mentioning. “And the piano’s this melancholy soundtrack to her smile//And that white dress she’s wearing—you haven’t seen her for a while.”

Peter Bradley Adams – Leavetaking
Adams’ second album is downright fantastic. His voice has a rare warmth that gives his songs a feeling of hope and comfort, no matter how melancholy or forlorn his lyrics get.

Written by Tony

February 9, 2009 at 4:09 am

Posted in music, my life

Tagged with ,