(This was written in late 2011)
I was asked to write a short essay about my “Desert Island Album”-- the one album I couldn’t live without. Here’ goes:
I had mentioned this assignment in an e-mail to a friend, a man who is best summed up in the wordebullient in the sense not necessarily of cheerfulness but rather the one that tends to characterize boiling water. In his response he brought up the John Cusack vehicle High Fidelity, based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same title, in which the lead character runs a record store and has a habit making impromptu “top five” lists--albums, breakups, whatever. I mention the character of my friend only to pair it with the fact that he often High Fidelity-ized reality, pegging people in his life as a type defined in the film: this person as a “Dick” kind of person, or that one as a “Barry.” Why someone whom I’ve already associated with boiling water would choose to view his world through these glasses, tinged with their turn-of-the-century rom-com hue, is something that I have never really thought about because it so often turned out to be a fine way of coping with the variety of people one meets at music school. The friend had long ago identified me with John Cusack’s character, and so when I tried to come up with my top five albums for him, I was surprised at how un-promptly the list came.