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I’d driven to a nearby village with my friend Jake, who had come to visit. We passed a churchyard. There, above the low stone walls, stood a granite obelisk and fixed upon its surface was a large metal plaque adorned with the names of the war dead. These monuments are so ubiquitous that it feels absurd explaining what they are. They stand like stone antennae broadcasting a quiet signal that we’re all picking up.
One day, Takeshi receives a letter informing him that he needs to return to hospital because of some worrying test results. He’s 60 years old and terrified of dying. His wife assures him that it’s nothing; he’s probably fine. Takeshi isn’t convinced. He hunkers over himself in the hospital waiting room. He doesn’t want to die.
Paula Crossfield: Before we were talking about your process. In particular you were talking about “Smith and Jones” - looking at it as a way to describe your writing process.
Paula Crossfield: Hi, David?
David Berman: Hey Paula.
PC: Thank you so much for taking the time and for getting back to me so quickly.
Daniel Johnston’s most famous single piece of work is his album Hi, How Are You. It was recorded in his brother’s garage and features a makeshift recording apparatus made from a chord organ and a couple of tape recorders strapped to a weight bench. Johnston started out as a musical scavenger, shrugging off structure he completely disregarded convention to create something unique in this album. The result is songs like “Big Monkey Business”, “Walking The Cow” and “Hey Joe” that absolutely lie on the right side of lo-fi genius.