Last tape recorded by pops. Archivist Ricky Ricciardi authored this breathtaking tale of discovering the contents of the very last tape Louis Armstrong made. Prior to a couple of years ago, I would have had no idea what that means - Louis Armstrong’s last tape. Like his last performances? I was lucky enough to find a museum exhibit on these same tapes when I was in New Orleans in August of 2018. It turns out Satchmo made personal reel-to-reel recordings of all kinds throughout much of his life, of interviews, playlists, performances, bits of dialogue. As or shortly after he recorded each one, he took to decorating the tape box as an incredibly artful found object and photo collage.
So when I came across @rickyricciardi’s story a few days ago I knew immediately what it was about, it knocked me out. Ricciardi takes you through his journey in notes, photos and audio step by step as he takes on transcribing the contents of this very last tape Armstrong made. I won’t ruin it by telling you what essentially the last song on a Satchmo mix tape still in the deck when he passed away was. You’ve gotta read through this thing for all of the lovely details and play-by-play.
And here are a few more of my photos of Satchmo’s tape boxes, all of which (and a couple more) you can find in my Instagram gallery:
There is but one rule.
More rules, but good ones. Lots of authors have done lists of what they think is important for writers to think and do for their craft. I landed on Jack Kerouac’s by way of Jo McKinnon’s blog, which is named after the first of Kerouac’s recommendations. As you sit inside somewhere working or not working, wondering what to do with your head and hands, don’t forget about writing, any kind of writing, and think about these ways to go at it:
[Kerouac’s Beliefs & Techniques for Writing]
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Bonus bananas: What I imagine is a response of “boh” from the late and great Ennio Morricone, A thoughtful thread of observations on what went wrong in Seattle’s Automomous Zone primarily relating to power and decision-making which will read as familiar to anyone who has been involved in associations and organizations, and a resonance theory of consciousness from Tam Hunt in Scientific American.
Those are all the bananas I have to share this week. I hope they go down as easy as they went up. If you hit “reply” it’ll go only to me. Thank you.