A Sad Hello From Sarasota

Holidays are great. Holidays in nice houses surrounded by lovely greenery in a nice, friendly town by the sea with great beaches, restaurants and shopping are even better. Sarasota is a marvelous place, and I’m sure I’d enjoy it even more if I was about, oooh, 78.

But we had some bad news the other day. Wandering into Sarasota News and Books, we saw the sign on the door stating that they would be closing their doors on August 31st. This was, to put it mildly, a real shock. Every time we came to Sarasota (this is the fourth time in three years), we’d always come to this great bookshop, and I’d always buy a few books1. There was a good selection, a nice cafe, and the staff were friendly and kind and let our errant son run around causing chaos. What’s more, it always seemed busy; people were always buying something or other, or sipping latte’s in the cafe, and it had the feel of a shop at the centre of its community.

So it’s a terrible shame that the owners can no longer afford to keep it running. It was the heart of a Main Street that’s so rare in modern America – with cafes, independent shops, and only a few random tramps sleeping on the elegant benches. This was one of the shops that kept Main Street alive, and I can see the whole street is going to struggle now. If a great, popular shop like this can’t stay in business, what about that little t-shirt shop? The antiques shops?

I’m lucky that I live in a huge city with such diverse bookshops as the labyrinthine Foyles, the superb John Sandoe, the elegant LRB Bookshop, and the dependable Daunt Books. And this is why I feel so sad that a great shop like Sarasota News and Books is closing, because in a small city like Sarasota – famed for its culture – there’s only Circle Books in St Armands Circle, or the chainstore monoliths of Borders and Barnes And Noble (not that I have anything against chains per se – Waterstones, back in the day, was marvellous, and some stores are still excellent).

Anyway, Creative Loafing has a personal take from MC Coolidge on the closure.

Well, I was going to post “Myopic Books” by American Music Club, but as I don’t have that with me, you’ll have to do with “Cornerstone” from the new Arctic Monkeys album, which I’ve been rather enjoying. Not exactly a one-trick pony this lot, are they?

MP3: Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys

1 I only brought a couple of books with me on holiday specifically so I could get a few more from this place. That’s how much I loved it. Sniff.

Buy Arctic Monkey’s “Humbug” (CD/MP3)

New Music – Arctic Monkeys and Chateau Laut (Again)

I’m so behind the times. Mucking around on the web last night, I found the video for the new Arctic Monkeys1 song. And I thought, “Oooh, a new song, I’ll bung it on the site in the next couple of days. Nice to have something new and fresh”. This morning, getting more info from the ever-reliable Wikipedia, I discover that it’s been out a month.

A month.

So whenever I say that I’m not very good at being up to date, you can refer back to this article. A month for the new Arctic Munkehs song. Sheesh. Still, the song isn’t released in physical form until August 17th, which gives me a bit of an excuse.

An Arctic Monkey Relaxing With A Nice Cup Of Tea

An Arctic Monkey Relaxing With A Nice Cup Of Tea

“So, dreadfully slow blog type person, what’s the song like then?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s not quite as brutal as “Brianstorm”, not quite as frenetic as “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor”; in comparison it’s almost relaxed. Or at least as relaxed as anything to do with über-rock god Josh Homme is ever going to be. If anything I’d call it mid-tempo oompah-inflected stomper. Sort of. I like it though.

On another note, I posted something by Berliners2 Chateau Laut last night, but the ID tagging went a bit odd so it appears in Hype Machine as “Chteau Laut”. So here it is again, so people should be able to find their unique brand of bonkers noisiness far more easily (and I hope they do, they’re fab). If you’re forming a band, don’t use umlauts or circumflexes or any other type of accent because the brave new world of music aggregators will just ignore you3



Oh, and you can buy the Chateau Laut album here or here. Go on, do it.

1 Is it just me that always thinks of them of the Arctic Munkehs?

2 Yes, yes, I know Berliners aren’t really called Berliners, but I was reminded of that classic Simpsons moment when Mayor Quimby steps up to the microphone and says “I am a jelly donut”. Sadly, I can’t find a clip on YouTube. Stupid Fox.

3 If you’re bored, go to Hype Machine and do a search for “Hsker D”. At least it’s not just me. I do love Hype Machine (and Elbo.ws), but I wish ‘puters were better at dealing with the intricacies of European languages. I’ve spent enough time living in Germany and Switzerland to know how to get umlauts – I just wish file formats were better at handling them. Sigh.4

4 I do, of course, realise that these footnotes are longer than the blog post itself. It’s my tribute to David Foster Wallace.

MP3: Crying Lightning by Arctic Monkeys

MP3: Song for Ape Sue – Chateau Laut

Pre-Order “Humbug” (CD/MP3)

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