Recommended diversions


Have you ever noticed that people, for the most part, solidify their tastes — in music, and clothing, and what they like to eat — at a certain time in their younger years?

I don’t mean that we can’t change and broaden our horizons, but that a lot of folks don’t, after that first rush of choices.

All this as a path to my point — I’ve been collecting, lately, music on CDs that I listened to when my tastes were forming. Stuff from my teens, on albums and cassettes, when I was turned on to the possibilities of music and filled with the idea of making my own.

Memories flood back when I hear the first strains of “Bean Time” on Leo Kottke’s Greenhouse album.

Or Steve Winwood’s plaintive vocals on “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”

Early 70’s ...

There is a lot of new music that I thoroughly enjoy. And I hope that I never get so calcified that I won’t listen to something just because it is new and unfamiliar. But if you don’t still own some of that first, life-changing music, go back and reacquaint yourself. Whenever it comes from. It stands up to all of the great sounds of today.

And if some younger person calls you the dreaded f-word (fogie!), remember what you thought of your elder’s music.

“Only two kinds of music ... good, and bad.”

Ursula LeGuin

My partner says that she doesn’t like to watch a movie or read a book more than once. “What’s the point?” might be how she put it to me one day.

If there is a movie or book that I like, I have to do it again and again — there’s no way that I can get everything out of the work in one viewing. I have shelves full of books that I have read too many times to count, and DVDs and videos that are in my regular rotations! Between high school and now I must have read The Lord of the Rings close to 50 times.

Ah, The Lord of the Rings ... what a perfect embodiment of so many of my favorite themes. And with the movies all out on disc, I can watch one of the best book-to-movie adaptations ever made whenever I want.

I never thought I would find another set of books, or author, for that matter, that could take the place of Tolkien’s LOTR in my heart. But I have. Read anything by Ursula LeGuin, but especially her Earthsea trilogy.

Maybe Peter Jackson will do the movies ...

— By David Cohen

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