365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

T-shirt #263 - KUDL 2009 - Red - Cotton

T-shirt #263 - KUDL 2009 - Red - Cotton

Welcome  to the follow up to yesterday's Feist post. I have written enough about KUDL and Ultimate for now, so this shirt provides me with a freebie to be able to write about whatever I want. However, in an attempt to get ahead on the post that was supposed to be yesterday's (which is not happening as I took all my time writing this one), I have to restrict myself to just a few, short subjects (or just one) or all my writing time disappears, and I still make no progress on the bigger entry that keeps getting postponed (which I didn't).

In preparing yesterday's shirt, I was going to make a top ten and a second ten (top twenty) of favourite female musicians.

Joni Mitchell balked at this categorization. She does not consider her only peers to be Carly Simon, Joan Baez, and Carole King, but rather Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, David Crosby, James Taylor, and so on. Her point is valid. Why should women artists only be compared to other WOMEN artists. Why not just compare artists and artists? Why do we feel the need to segregate?

Okay, list time. I am not segregating. I actually am mad for women musicians, and my list of male musicians would be much shorter, especially if I restrict myself to those who have worked by and large in a solo capacity: Bowie, Weller, Costello, Jackson, Donald Fagen, David Sylvian, Springsteen, Gabriel, Eno, Bryan Ferry... okay, so the list is growing rather larger than I anticipated. NEVERTHELESS, I love women artists more and want to separate them, which means I can have more in my top ten. :-)

I love female singer-songwriters WAY more than male ones, and I was going to make a list with yesterday's entry, but it was getting long, and I was off to play D&D plus I had to work on the family Christmas shopping. AND I lost the list I made on my tablet the other night, but I think I can recreate it easily.

My criteria for this list is restricted to women artists who have worked primarily or exclusively on a solo basis. I also have a criterion based on those whose work I have listened to the most often, and so those with some longevity are higher on the list than newer artists. Though I like some new artists, if I don't have enough of their work, or they have not been around long enough, then they will not make the list. One artist, Lisa Gerard, I adore, but since she has mostly worked with Dead Can Dance, she does not make the list despite her solo work. I also adore Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins and Beth Gibbons of Portishead. Though the latter has some solo work, the former has none and so does not make the list.

The lists are not strictly ranked. I could easily claim Kate Bush as number two or three. Sade is probably over Erykah Badu as I have listened to her for more years. I had to put Katie Melua on the list because her cover of "Just Like Heaven" is THE SONG for my wife and me and our crazy love affair. It was played at our wedding. I think Katie Melua is GREAT, but I might not have put her in the top twenty over artists that I have loved for more years, like AIMEE MANN, Sarah McLachlan, Neko Case, ALANIS Morissette, or Fiona Apple.

  1. Joni Mitchell
  2. Rickie Lee Jones
  3. Erykah Badu
  4. Kate Bush
  5. Suzanne Vega 
  6. Tracey Thorn
  7. Beth Orton
  8. Sade
  9. Ani DiFranco
  10. Annie Lennox


11. Lori Carson
12. Laurie Anderson
13. Bjork
14. Tori Amos
15. Jane Siberry
16. Katie Melua
17. Sinead O'Connor
18. M.I.A.
19. Enya
20. Feist

Notable Omissions: ST. VINCENT a recent new love almost made this list. Patti Smith (love her, but I consider her work with the Patti Smith Group as best); Natalie Merchant (ditto, I adore her but her best work was with the 10,000 Maniacs); Edith Piaf (a fantastic singer but has not been one I have listened to over the course of my life as much); Same deal as Piaf for Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Laura Nyro, etc.; Fiona Apple (close but no cigar). Also all close but no cigar due to too few albums or not enough listens: Gillian Welch, Dingding Sa, Emmylou Harris, Carole King, Goldfrapp, Beth Nielsen Chapman, India.Arie, Jenny Lewis, Alanis Morissette, Kate Rusby, Katell Keineg, Lois, KD Lang, Kasey Musgraves, Kimya Dawson, Kirsty MacColl, Duffy, Kristin Hersh, Lana Del Rey. And so many more. Stopping now. This is getting crazy. Okay, I have to mention Mary J. Blige, Mikki Howard, and Nina Simone. Whew.

I am pretty happy with these lists. There was a time that I listened to Laurie Anderson all the time (and I have named her as a guest at my fantasy Dinner Party), but she lost her top ten ranking when I realized that I had left off Suzanne Vega, which is crazy given my lengthy love letter to her in T-shirt #78. Also, as much as I love her, it's a tough call between Bjork and artists like Sinead O'Connor and Sarah McLachlan. I simply chose to rank Bjork in the top twenty because of a dream I had recently in which she was at my fantasy Dinner Party, chatting with me and Laurie Anderson.

VIDEOS of top five FAVORITES (skipping two)

Okay, more indulgence. I know I have posted music videos both of the last two days. But it's time for some more. Just five here, assuming I can find them. A good sampler to start your Monday. I could go strictly top five, but since I already have posts on two of the artists in the top five -- Suzanne Vega in T-shirt #78 and Erykah Badu in T-shirt #86 -- I am skipping them. Go to those links for videos. Here's videos from the top five skipping those two, with favorite songs by Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, Kate Bush, Tracey Thorn, and Beth Orton. Here we go...

Close call on the Joni song. I adore "Coyote." But if I think back on the song that nailed it for me, what made me fall in love with Joni, it's this one. Mingus was the first Joni album I ever owned. This is possibly the first Joni song I really listened to in any kind of close and studied way.

Joni Mitchell - God Must Be A Boogie Man (Live London 1983)

Tough call with the Rickie song, too. I could go with so many, though not "Chuck E's in Love." The album that really cemented my love for Rickie was The Magazine. I remember going to a party at my friend Evar Strid's apartment. He had just bought the album. I sat down and listened to the whole thing and read the lyrics and would not speak to anyone until I was done. I would feature the whole album if I thought anyone would listen to it. Unfortunately, there is not a YouTube video for my favorite song on that album, "The Runaround," in which Rickie sings the line "Juke Box Fury" in a great way. The song titled after that lyric is a good second choice.

Rickie Lee Jones Juke box fury

My wife is a great lover of Kate Bush, which is one thing we share in common, though mostly she prefers Hounds of Love and The Dreaming. If you dial back to my post for T-shirt #97 and my list of my most listened to albums, you will find The Dreaming and The Magazine in the top tier remainder, not officially in the top ten or second top ten, but above the "second tier." I should have put Joni Mitchell's Mingus with that top tier remainder, as I listened to that album a lot and fell in love with her for its lead song, "God Must be a Boogie Man." In fact, I am going back to edit that entry right now! But for Kate, I have to go with the song that cuts me the deepest rather than one of the songs from The Dreaming, which is my favorite album.

Kate Bush - This Woman's Work

Tracey Thorn is in that top tier of the aforementioned list in T-shirt #97. She is second in the second ten. I wrote about EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL in T-shirt #163, but the album lately that has been on constant repeat for me is her solo work Out of the Woods. Amazing. Also, this is a great video representation with some time lapse photography.

Tracey Thorn -- Hands Up To The Ceiling

Lastly, Beth Orton. I discovered Beth Orton on the recommendation of a review in Details magazine, mainly because William Orbit, who was someone I admired and liked,  had produced her first album Trailer Park. She became an instant favorite, and I have seen her a few times in concert. Once, at Irving Place in New York City, she came in for the show through the audience, shaking hands and giving hugs, with her pink dress in a garment bag over her shoulder. You're so cool, Beth!! 
It was one song on her second album Central Reservation that became an anthem for me. Here it is.

Beth Orton - Feel To Believe (Live @ Union Chapel, London, 05.12.12)

As a final thought for the day, that song is pretty kick ass.

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 102 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1312.09 - 12:09