I have an unusually vivid memory of sitting in my high school library during a photography class my senior year. We were researching photographers and I somehow stumbled down a rabbit hole leading me to discover the work of Tibor Kalman (I also remember reading about Paul Rand and Saul Bass that day).
I remember looking at the work and realizing there was a rich graphic design history. Up to that point, my design knowledge and inspiration came from contemporary, working designers and there I sat discovering for the first time the designers who came before me; the ones who helped get us to where we are today. In a weird way, that moment set me on a path towards a deep understanding and love of design history.
This week, I won a first edition copy of Tibor’s monograph on eBay. I’ve spent the morning looking through it and I was immediately taken back to my high school library, and to that unfiltered love of the craft I now get to work on every single day.
Isn’t that kind of the point?
My friend Andy introduced me to The Office. I came home from my first semester of college and we spent our winter break watching the first three seasons, one after another, over bowls of won-ton soup and plates of homemade sushi.
And though my interest in the show waned in recent years, whenever I hear the theme music—even now, watching the series finale almost six years later in San Francisco, on the other side of the county—I’m taken back to that winter, to those memories, to the fun we had.
I think it’s a sign of a good work of art when it becomes forever tied to a moment in your life—a memory of good fun, good food, and good friends.
And sometimes all it takes is a sitcom.
The Woodpile – Frightened Rabbit
I’m completely obsessed with the latest Frightened Rabbit album. Listening to it takes me back to Nashville the summer of 2010, when I first discovered them and their previous album The Winter of Mixed Drinks became my soundtrack for that year. This album seems like it will be the same way.
Music is a time machine
I get back to the bus stop around 8:30; a two-hour bus ride from New York has been my commute home everyday this summer. I got off the bus and was driving home, the windows were down and that cool late-summer-day breeze poured over me as I twist and turn down these country roads.
The iPhone was softly playing music when an old song started and I suddenly found myself reminiscing. Music does that to us. It invades our experiences and becomes forever locked in certain moments. When we hear that song again, all those emotions, experiences, and memories come flooding back. Like how that one band takes me back to my senior year of high school or that song that reminds me of Philadelphia or those songs that remind me of Kutztown and how that one album will always make me think of Nashville. A song doesn’t make us just remember another time, it makes us feel like we are there again. Music is multi-sensory like that, we don’t just hear the melody and the words, we feel them and they take us somewhere. My iTunes is a scrapbook, a roadmap of where I’ve been. If I ever want to remember and look back, I know how to get there.
The song finishes and a new one begins. I’m somewhere else. Music is a time machine.
Happy Friday! [Superhuman Touch – Athlete]
One of my favorite things in the world is how music can invade your conscious and forever be connected to the time and place you first heard it. I first discovered the music of Athlete about this time last year—I had just moved to Kutztown, the leaves were changing, the weather was getting cooler, and I was welcoming in Fall. I decided to listen to Athlete’s wonderful album, Black Swan, again this week and I was immediately transported back a year. I guess that’s what good art is like; it becomes a part of your life. It adds something to your narrative. I like that.
Anonymous said: What are your favourite memories of Nashville?
Oh, boy. How does one describe memories from what was essentially a three-month vacation let alone attempt to pick favorites (or favourites? How very British of you!)?
Thinking back chronologically, the first obvious memory is watching Kelly Clarkson inebriated, singing really bad karaoke at Larry’s Lounge my first week in the city. Seriously. Like what the heck? And then there were a series of concerts at The Rutledge including a surprise appearance by newsboys where I met Michael Tait. Of course I enjoyed my first aquarium experience while visiting Chattanooga.
Saki bombs, bowling, and beer on my twenty-first birthday. Peach pancakes at the Pancake Pantry, southern cooking at Loveless, bacon-infused bourbon at The Patterson House, and Cuban coffee from Crema (best coffee in Nashville! Take that, Fido!).
Funk music at 3rd and Lindsey that included surprise (and random) performances by Victor Wooten, arguable the world’s best bassist and his brother FutureMan, (both of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) incredible drummer and inventor of the drumitar. THE DRUMITAR!
It went by way too fast and while these are just the few that came to mind immediately ones I cherish the most, there are many, many more I’m not mentioning but it’s impossible to forget this summer. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.