Here’s Soldiers Things by Tom Waits, my flea market theme song.
Here’s Word Play by A Tribe Called Quest.
It’s a golden day. A wintery white-gold glowing day. Really the only leaves left on the trees are the golden ones, and they fall all around you in a bright shower. The boys flew out of the house, gleaming, a bat and an owl with fiendish expressions and madly flapping wings. They chased each other down to the towpath where fallen leaves of every color trail along the surface of the fast dark water like strings of christmas lights. Isaac loves this weather because he was born in this weather. I tell them about the day they were each born, unseasonably warm for November, unseasonably cool for July, both perfect perfect days. When we got to the part of the towpath where the trees have brown-paper leaves that smell like burnt sugar, a whole pack of teenage girls ran by. A track team, maybe. They were very serious, staring straight ahead. I know they know Malcolm, they’re not much older in actual chronology, but they didn’t say hello. He was quiet and thoughtful in his owl suit, for a minute or two. I thought nothing gold can stay, nothing gold can stay. And then he raced ahead after Isaac. Clio pulled me ahead and the boys fell behind, lost in serious conversation.
I looked back at them, with their bright heads bent together, and I wondered what they were talking about. It was what they would do if somebody took Daddy and me away. They’d walk miles to Dad’s shop and get a bow and arrow. They’d buy a thousand nail guns. They’d save up their money for a paintball gun and fill it with pebbles. Then they’d find us somehow. We got to where we were going, a big field, and heavy indigo clouds rolled in, and the trees were bright like fire against the dark sky.
Everbody flew around the field, and Isaac gave me hugs to knock me over. His skin smells beautiful, like sunshine and summer. I told Malcolm it wouldn’t rain, but of course he was right and it did rain, a fine cold rain. Isaac put up his ghost bat hood. We made it home, and the boys filled the house with the scent of clementines while they waited for warm lunch. Just a bat and an owl sitting together and resting a moment, before they return to their dizzying flight.
Here’s Park Life, by Blur, because my boys are completely obsessed with it at the moment.
And, as ever, we have a recipe, too! This is an autumnal galette. The crust has walnuts and black pepper, and the inside has roasted beets and roasted mushrooms, as well as butterbeans sautéed with chard. It’s all topped off with smoked gouda. Lots of warm, sweet, earthy, smoky flavors!
Here’s The Boogie Monster by Gnarls Barkley
Here’s They Might Be Giants, Malcolm’s current favorite band, with We Want a Rock.
I love the eccentric ordinariness of this whole process. I love the way it’s described as part of his routine, as natural as making a meal. In describing his career trajectory, from gallery shows in New York in the seventies to relative obscurity (although he has a show in Paris at the moment) he seems more than resigned. As his career waned, he remained as productive as ever, perhaps even more so. ‘Removing himself from the New York scene gave him a “purity”, he says, by virtue of “not having a personality so involved in the dissemination of work”. But by his own admission, he “dropped out” in the late 80s. “Gallerists couldn’t sell my stuff,” he says matter-of-factly. “My work’s not the most optimistic. It’s not like Yosemite.”‘ In all of these things: his subject matter, his seeming need to take photographs, the fact that he hasn’t developed many of his negatives, or even looked at them, he reminds me of Vivian Maier, another brilliant photographer who had a unique view of the world all around us. They capture time as it passes, they save moments in the lives of strangers and make them into something remarkable–something worth noticing, something worth saving. There’s a feeling almost of melancholy in the works of both photographers, something almost lonely in a glimpse into the life of somebody else. But there’s tenderness and compassion, too: we feel a connection. Autumn empanadas!! These were warm and smoky, earthy, sweet and tangy. Very very nice on a chilly autumn evening. The kale and sweet potatoes are from the farm, as are the sage and rosemary. I used a combination of goat cheese and smoked gouda, for the nice contrast in flavor and texture. These were mostly soft and pleasing, but they did have a bit of crunch from the crust and the pecans.
Here’s Jimmy Smith with Just a Closer Walk With Thee.
This is the dinner I made for David’s birthday. It’s a very fancy Ordinary dinner. It employs some Ordinary staples, such as french lentils and roasted mushrooms. It’s autumnal, because it also has roasted butternut squash, smoked gouda, and pecans. I made it in big muffin tins, with large holes in them, but if you don’t have those, you could make little free-form galettes and they’d be just as tasty.