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Posts Tagged ‘The World’s Columbian Exposition’

I wrote last week about those records that at some time in your life, you loved. Capital ‘L’ LOVED…. but now, maybe you don’t listen to them all that much.

A record that did that to me was Sufjan Steven’s 2005 masterpiece, Illinois.

This record came out in the summer and at a time when I smoked a lot of pot.  I worked nights at the Zone and when I got home after a radio show Alex would be in bed or maybe still at work.

I’d pack the bong and plug my headphones into the stereo amp and hit play on this compact disc.

By the winter, Alex had moved back to Vancouver and I was all by myself.  My obsession with this album intensified.  I listened to it almost every night and thought it was a religious revelation.

But then something funny happened.  Well two funny somethings….

Alex and I broke up; and I stopped smoking pot.

Maybe it was the haze (or lack there of…), or time, or new music coming in…. but Sufjan got pushed aside and I really haven’t punched it up much at all in the past??? three years?  Damn, I’m getting old.

Today I am reading about chili.  Did you know that chili… the delicious meaty treat that many of enjoy from Tim Hortons or cooked at home… was first introduced outside of San Antonio to mainstream audiences at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893? (so was the hamburger, rag time music and neon lights)

Then I start reading about the Expo ’93… as I’m sure that is what the Industrial Age kids of the time called it.

Its an interesting story about this fair that made use of electricity and gave the world the Ferris Wheel.

I wondered about the music of the time and my wandering brain took me to discover ragtime. One of the great ragtime performers of the era played a show at the exposition and ragtime would go on to be the dominate music style in North America till jazz would develop after World War One.

This is fascinating because the Veneto Lounge styles many of their cocktails on this late 19th century culture and maybe ragtime would be the perfect musical accompaniment?

Right, Sufjan Stevens… there really isn’t a point to this rambling… as I am flying though the internet and iTunes, listening to ragtime and exploring the wonders of American exceptionalism.  The internet wants me to listen to Sufjan.  My searches and hyperlinks keep saying, “Do You Mean Illinios (album)?”

Um, no… but ok internet, I’ll bite.  I punch up the record and the music washes right over me. It feels good.  I remember all these songs.  I can’t listen to it loud enough! (though back in the day, one of my favourite things to do was put it on as quiet as possible and try to have the songs tickle my little ear hair things as lightly as I could make out sounds… like I said, I smoked a ton of pot).

Illinois is such an amazing record.  Its like an audio epic adventure.  After reading about chili, Chicago, ragtime and The World’s Columbian Exposition… I couldn’t imagine or have predicted a better soundtrack.

Go with yourself.

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