I did a long, long, strange podcast tonight - another episode of The Ramble. I love these. It's basically the Diner without crowd sounds and backstory, and while I miss the Diner, there has to be a reason I stopped doing them. Possibly the amount of effort required. It became daunting to consider even doing one. I was an inch away from doing another series of podcasts that were really, really high concept, and would have required even more production and worries about internal narrative contradictions, and let me tell you something about hobbies: if it has an internal narrative contradiction, your enthusiasm will diminish.
The idea, however, is fantastic, and requires a fictional treatment, a serialized story. It's about two secret societies, the Fathers and the Brothers, waging a quiet struggle behind the scenes in the 20s and 30s in small towns across America, each equipped with a technology that lets them dispatch an agent to any town where they have a portal. The technology is janky; you usually arrive where you want, but the time isn't always certain. The story is about someone who finds one of these portals in 2016, after decades of disuse, long after the struggle is concluded, and reconstructs what happened.
The portal is in the janitor's closet of a Carnegie Library. All the Carnegie Libraries are connected. They were built for another reason.
The opening, which was supposed to be episode one, starts in the lobby of the Graver Hotel in Fargo, across from the old Carnegie Library. Our narrator gets a telegram, which is unlikely in 2016, and heads across the street. I did the sound design for the opening - the lobby sounds, the old revolving door, the street noises, the creaky steps up the library. And then I had that fateful bolt that said WHAT ARE YOU DOING. WHY. I saw weeks and weeks of trying to recreate ambient sounds, writing scripts, worrying that two weeks between episodes had turned into three.
If only this was my job. But it's not. Writing it, however, is a different matter. Writing it isn't a job. It's fun.
The serial begins in early 2017. Question for the comments: when our narrator goes to the Carnegie Library his instructions say to talk to Mr. Wolfe, whose first words are "you're very late."
The podcast will be up at Ricochet this weekend. I wish I had more for you today but there's just the usual Friday stuff, and I'm tired. Honest to God, I have spent the whole week coming up with stuff, and I just want to watch TV. Started watching "Robinson Crusoe on Mars," which has that bright saturated look of the sci-fi of the early 60s, and has the usual postulates: wherever the plot may take our intrepid explorers, they'll probably be able to breathe, and in the future, the function of buttons will be indicated by adhesive labels.
Doesn't matter what I watch. Sometimes you just. want. TV.
Apart from the park and other landscaping details, there's really nothing more to show about the massive Downtown East Project. The cladding of the apartments is done.
I don't know why you'd want to live on this side, knowing the other side had the park, and you were looking at a jail.
Nothing on the Krauss Anderson project, because it's still just a big hole. But some minor work on a downtown hotel revealed, for exactly a week, something buried for decades:
It's the Normandy Hotel, a downtown relic that managed to reinvent itself nicely in the last few years. It embraces the kitsch of the roof and the timbers and faux bad plaster. It bears its mid-century lineage PROUDLY. Other management might have scraped it all off and made it upscale and hip, but it's too far from the nightclubs and restaurants. Now it's close to the stadium. They'll be raking it in on game weekend.
And they still offer STEAKS!
Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s, and I'm surprised at how few there were. I think I'm already repeating what I previously played. In fact I know I'm already repeating the fact that I think I'm repeating myself, but on we go: this is the sound of narrative radio in its strange last gasp.
Domestic caper music.
Good for a mild comic concussion:
These boozy horns get old, fast.
From 1958, pain:
Gil Hodges, baseball player, acting as badly as he possibly can.
A few elbows poked into the ribs of the DIY crowd. This might be the first; Fred's ideas and inventions got more and more elaborate and preposterous as time went on. Note how Ray's reading is the very definition of someone reading a script and thinking he's doing a great job.
A comfortable 94 degrees.
Note how Ray's reading is the very definition of someone reading a script and thinking he's doing a great job. Sincerely insincerely sincere.
Last week it was Esquivel c. 1968; let's go back to 1959. Seems more like twenty years seperated the two; so much had changed. This is a bit more restrained, but still.
Wikipedia bio says: "The chorus was often called upon to sing only nonsense syllables, most famously "zu-zu" and "pow!"
As I said last week: you love it or you hate it. Zu zu zu zu zu zu zu!
Oh, er, ahem:
Hope you enjoyed this week! If not, we'll try again on Monday.