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Things We Like: Bucket Drummers, Cowboy Reggae and Moving Furniture

27 February 2010 Things We Like 5,969 views One CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Every Saturday, we rummage though our bookshelves, toy boxes, DVDs, music collections, web bookmarks and stacks of assorted stuff in search of a few choice items that will make your life better.

Bucket Drummers

Few things symbolize big city life as perfectly as a guy drumming on five-gallon plastic laundry detergent buckets for tips. I’m fascinated by bucket drummers — fascinated by the full use they glean from their haphazardly-assembled “kits” of percussive detritus, fascinated by the way they’ve taken city waste and transformed it into a civic asset, and fascinated by their nonstop, frenetic volleys of beats, which are essentially one-sided conversations whose universal topic doesn’t change from city to city, drummer to drummer: “Please put a dollar in the jar.” Bucket Beats.com tells you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about these street drummers — where you can find the best of them, how you can become one yourself, and most significantly, why you ought to give them a dollar the next time you come across one. You may take bucket drummers or leave ‘em — but you can’t deny that you wouldn’t notice if they were to disappear from the cityscape tomorrow. – Geoff Carter

Elliott Bay Book Company’s Suggested Reading: “Couch” by Benjamin Parzybok

“Couch” is everything I could ever want in a novel. It is a perfect example of what fiction can accomplish when all traditional models and expectations are shoved aside. And I’m not talking about a book that you have to read from the front and back simultaneously, or something with changing fonts or braille mixed in. Nothing like that. I’m talking about an urban adventure story centered around one of the most mundane tasks imaginable: moving a sofa.

It is clear quite early on that it is no ordinary sofa, however. This couch is draped in mysterious powers, and when three oddly matched roommates have to try and get rid of it, it starts telling them where to go. They walk it along railroad tracks, they take it out to sea, they lug it through a South American jungle. People start turning up offering ridiculous sums of money for the couch, and when these offers are refused they start firing guns. The sofa seems to be alternately trying to kill its carriers and save their lives.

Yes, it is a silly concept; one that in lesser hands would be a silly book. But part of the brilliance of Benjamin Parzybok is that he handles this situation in a way that is subtle and believable. His characters are presented with an implausible situation and they react in kind; they must be convinced that the journey they are on is real and as it builds the reader gets walked through the same process. You can approach it from several angles; it is funny, philosophical, and has an absolutely beautiful ending. – Christopher Sabatini

Scarecrow Video’s Movie of the Week: “The Harder They Come” (1972), directed by Perry Henzell

Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan, a Spaghetti Western-loving musician trying to break into a corrupt business who, after finding he can’t make it by talent alone, resorts to crime and finds fame as a “rude boy” outlaw. In many ways, “The Harder They Come” stylistically parallels the blaxploitation genre that was exploding about the same time in the States, but it has a gritty authenticity not found in similar American movies. The plot wanders a bit as Ivan tries to seduce a preacher’s daughter, deals with his newfound fame, rides a motorcycle around the beautiful Jamaican countryside, and shoots some cops. The soundtrack is fantastic and I love the ending that inverts the viewing experience and shows an audience reacting to the on-screen thrills. The Jamaican accents are pretty thick so the film may be best viewed with subtitles. A must-see for fans of reggae, ska, and rock steady as well as people who dig “urban” action films. – Spenser Hoyt


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One Comment »

  1. What is your address?
    Please invite this guy to sit underneath your window and play for 4 hours a day and then tell us how much you like it.
    Do you even live downtown?
    These guys know about 3 riffs and drive everyone insane.

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