While it’s no nine-day commute, driving eighty miles a day to-and-from work is not my cup of tea. I owe it to myself to go to the library and stock up on some audiobooks, but even then, I’ll be burning through one story a week. This is me, The World’s Slowest Reader, we’re talking about. I’m the one who can’t pick up a book without marking up its pages, circling words I don’t know, and generally getting all tactile and shit with the text. Consuming literature via audio will take some adjustment, but it’s probably the best use of my time.
Until I make it to the actual library, I’ve been switching to NPR instead of 94.9, and my brain is ever more grateful for it. Lately I’ve been feeling run down by my schedule. Comic-Con, camping, Boston, Lady Gaga, MAGIC. This weekend we’re headed to LA. I just need a break from all these breaks, and at least zoning out to NPR means I’m listening to generally quality programming. (As opposed to that god-awful Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull disaster.)
This week on Marketplace, producer Michael Raphael continued a series he calls “Road Warriors,” tracking what people on the move have pumping through their headphones while they’re on the road. The premise itself sang to me, and it just so happened that I tuned in just in time for a woman in my industry. Bonnie Wisnowski is the Director of Visual Presentation at Eileen Fisher, and she sets her iPod to “The Funeral” by Band of Horses whenever she gets settled in on the plane.
With all my travels (Again, I am immensely grateful for these opportunities! Just a little tired.), I’ve been trying to think of ways to use my brain overload and turn it into a creativity dump into the Maykazine, Moxsie, MADE Jewelry, Martin Hsu, Khamai, or someplace worthwhile. I shouldn’t be surprised that Wisnowski uses her continuous changes of scenery to her work’s advantage:
I love when I’m traveling, because I get tippy-creative. And honestly, most of my merchandising nowadays is on paper, or think with teams about concepts, but when I’m actually on the road is when I get to try and bring it to life. I imagine it’s like somebody who’s a carpenter, always only sketching and planning and designing versus actually building. And when they actually build, it comes to life. It’s sort of like that for me with merchandising.
We went to go install some windows at Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco this last spring. And the team that I did it with was totally incredible, and we would get up at the crack of dawn just so that we can get done by four ‘o clock and then take the rental car and get out of the city. And we went and drove all around the beaches, and it was breathtaking. So it was kind of neat to think, “OK, I was in a Bloomingdale’s window two hours ago, and now I’m on a beach that has black sand and huge crashing waves.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be saying how much I like it, ’cause then everybody’s going to be like, “You can’t go anymore.”
I thought about Wisnowski’s ritualistic use of Band of Horses, and I realized that while I don’t have a set routine for my trips, I do have a set playlist that calms me down (more than my Club Mayka! playlist). Not sure if, in posting, I will reveal some diabolical subconscious characteristic about me, but here it is, titled the Creative Underclass:
- Groove Armada – “At the River (Fatboy Slim Remix)”
A Fatboy Slim remix of Groove Armada is kind of like Groove Armada-squared.
- Incubus – “Oil and Water”
This one gets me every time.
- Kawayan Folk Arts – “Pinanggalingan (Instrumental)”
I danced to this! I’m used to live percussion and piano in dance, but performing to live guitar was a pretty amazing feeling. Everything in the moment feels like it’s more about flow than anything else in the room.
- Junior Boys – “In the Morning”
Obviously I like my melancholy.
- Kanye West – “Love Lockdown”
Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed that Kanye made this list, but we’ll just pretend I don’t know a thing about his personality in real life.
- Nelly Furtado – “Say It Right”
- Looper – “Mondo 77”
Discovered when I saw Vanilla Sky. Someone bring back super good soundtracks!
- Folk Implosion – “Natural One”
Yes, I know they use it in Kids, but I haven’t seen Kids and I’m not creepy like that.
- Edwyn Collins – “A Girl Like You”
So funky. I like Edwyn’s tall hair.
- Austin White – “Everything You Need”
Also happens to be my ringtone. I think I discovered this guy in the early days of imeem. At the time he was just 19 years old!
- Flying Lotus – “Melt!”
- Bailongo – “Violento (Up Mix)”
Discovered via So You Think You Can Dance? Not ashamed.
- Malcolm McLaren – “About Her”
Off the Kill Bill Vol. 2 soundtrack.
I don’t change or add to this playlist very often, but if you have a good assessment of the mood and feel of these beats, please send suggestions my way. Perhaps I should simply plug into it more often.
I named the playlist after a New York Magazine editorial about Gawker written by Vanessa Grigoriadis in 2007 , “Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass.”