Thursday, October 11, 2018


I'm going to post three youtubes that came my way today. If you aren't especially into alternative rock or indie pop (I'm using labels often applied to this musician), skip the first two and just give a click to the third, which is interesting for many reasons, the music itself being just one. I'll get to that one in a second.

My reason for linking to this stuff is because Ocean often takes you to Poland -- of course it does. I go there frequently and you tag along. But I worry sometimes that you get a fixed image of Poland here, as seen through the lens of my camera and it is an image that I have created for you out of a compilation of memories, returns, and rather sentimental, soporific ramblings through known to me corners of that country.

When in Poland, I connect mostly to my generation of Poles. (The exception here is my extraordinary architect and designer, Karolina, who is now my friend, at the same time that she belongs to the next generation of Polish people -- one my daughters would inhabit were they in Poland.) Ocean, for the most part, gives you an older person's perspective. These three youtubes (below) give you something else -- a slice of Poland as seen through the eyes of young people.

Let me describe the clips to you: they showcase the music of Poland's amazing young musician, Dawid Podsiadło. He's just 24 or 25 and his songs have been at the top of music charts in Poland for several years now. The first youtube is of his most recent hit "Nie Ma Fal." It's about a relationship, and the text at the beginning suggests there'll be a more sophisticated video for the song someday, but I'm not sure whether that comment is in jest, since the current one is pretty satisfying. I like it a lot, so here you have it -- music that young Poland is listening to:

The second youtube is also Podsiadło's work and I'm putting it up because the guy is actually fluent in English and his previous album had maybe a half dozen songs in English. Here's one of them:

But it's the third one that I think is especially poignant, because it brings together very many themes for me: the music is by Posiadlo, but this rendition is an instrumental adaptation of Dawid's song "small town" (or perhaps a better translation would be "small town boy"). It's played by two extremely talented cellists. One of them happened to be living in my apartment on Tamka when I purchased the place and though I let him stay there until the end of the university term, ultimately he had to leave. My sister helped him locate another place and they've been in close contact since. So much so that when it came time to film the video to their music, she let them use my grandparents' old house in the village where I lived in my early years (and where I vacationed nearly every summer of my childhood). And so this clip shows off the music of a new generation of talented Polish musicians, as seen against the backdrop of my grandparents' house and a rural Poland that is as familiar to me as the back of my hand.

Here it is:

It's lovely stuff. Give them a thumbs up if you agree.

It's a cold morning, a crisp morning, one where after breakfast...

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... Ed tries to coax me into doing outdoor stuff, but I am rather stuck on enjoying the sunshine from inside the farmhouse, with only an occasional glance out the window at the prettiness of the day. I'm just getting used to the sudden change in the weather.

And in the afternoon, I pick up Snowdrop. And she picks up a ginger snap.

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For the next several hours, she spins a story: when she grows up, she will be going to Antarctica, to be a scientist there. Studying what? Snow! And penguins.

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She must prepare for the trip. She asks for a suitcase. She packs the essentials. Everything but the food. Gaga, I wont be going until I'm an adult. (which she imagines is imminent, but still...)  We will pack the food later.  But a few toys, a placemat, a flamingo, a music box, a wooden macaron so they can see down there what they're missing, an Eiffel Tower...

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A book! She has to write a book about Antarctica and it must be packed!

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All that goes into the suitcase. One more thing, gaga -- a box for the toy penguins.
It wont fit.
We can put it in this pocket! Oh! It sticks out! Can we cover it? There will be snow in Antarctica!

We're set.

At this point, Ed readies himself to go outside.
Suitcase abandoned, she is at his side. We're going to pick flowers! -- she tells me. I had mentioned that we're getting a deep frost tonight. After explaining the consequences of it (no more blooms tomorrow), she is delighted to go out and pick all that she otherwise cannot touch.

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The harvest:

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Our day's not done. It's "go to school night" at Snowdrop's school: an evening where the kids show their families what they're up to during the day. When you watch a child show off her routines while away from home, you're inevitably impressed by how independent she can be.

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At home, or even at the farmhouse, you're too quick to jump in and provide assistance. To get this, to get that. To pick up the toys. To fill that pitcher of water. At school, the child learns to cruise her own ship.

Sparrow is with us tonight, taking a back seat, as the younger kid always does, as the family admires the growth and astonishing cleverness of the older one in school.

("Where is Snowdrop?")

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Eventually, of course, the tables will be switched and there will come a time when Sparrow will have the full attention of adoring parents, as the older one goes off to college or whatever life's ambition pulls her.  For now, he is busy straining to hear the sound of her voice, as she plunges into the production of her next book. Two in one day! I should be one hundredth that fast.

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