Archive for the ‘Announcement’ Category

All good things come to an end.

And in addition to that, this blog has come to an end. Or at least, it’s coming to a highly open-ended hiatus, starting the minute I post this.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. For quite some time now, I’ve just been too distracted by other projects to give this blog its due.
  2. For quite some time before that, what motivated me to keep this blog up to date was the squishy but fun idea that it was the world’s only single-song blog — or at least the world’s only “St. James Infirmary”-specific blog.

On the latter point, not only is this not the only the world’s only “St. James Infirmary”-specific blog — it’s not even the best such blog! (In other words, you can search this whole world over — and you’ll immediately find a better blogger than me!) The best one, and the one you should immediately redirect your attention to, is Robert W. Harwood’s I Went Down To St. James Infirmary. Mr. Harwood, author of the indispensable book I Went Down To St. James Infirmary, has long since surpassed me as the leading explorer of this uniquely wonderful tune, and the multiple historical byways that exploring its origins reveals. I’ll continue to follow him on his journey, and you should, too.

As for me: If you want to stay connected I’ll offer a few options below. But if you don’t, that’s cool, and I thank you for sticking with me over the years.

  1. These days, I collect links and images and thoughts related to the idea of place (New Orleans included) at lettersfromhere.tumblr.com.
  2. Similar material related to music, with something of a focus on how technology is or isn’t changing the way we listen, can be found at journal.robwalker.net. Anything else I have to say in the future about “St. James Infirmary,” I’ll say there.
  3. As some of you know, my day job boils down to writing about design/marketing/consumer culture/whatever. If you’re interested in that, please check out my blog on Design Observer; my MTKG Tumblr; and the Consumed Facebook page;
  4. I mentioned “other projects” above. Those would primarily be: Significant Objects, which involves fiction about thrift-store flotsam (book version forthcoming in April 2012); The Hypothetical Development Organization, which involves implausible futures for unpopular places; and Unconsumption, a group Tumblr with assorted spinoffs, dedicated to promoting creative reuse and mindful consumer behavior.
  5. Other, smaller side efforts include Things That Look Like Other Things, a Tumblr; and Google Image Search Results, also a Tumblr, though that project may have other iterations in the future.
  6. I am also still overseeing MLK BLVD, the open-source photojournalism effort dedicated to collecting images from streets, avenues, boulevards, etc., named after Martin Luther King Jr. Like this blog, that project spun out of Letters From New Orleans, a book you should buy and enjoy immediately if you haven’t already done so. To this very day, 100% of author royalties (and yes, they persist) are promptly redirected to worthy causes in New Orleans.
  7. Finally: The Consumed/Rob Walker email newsletter RW Quarterly Report is perhaps the best way to stay in touch with whatever it is I am doing now, and will do in the future.

And obviously, if none of that is of any interest, then I wish you nothing but the fondest of farewells! Bye!


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Six years!

So here’s a fun fact: the no notes blog has been around in one form or another (it was originally a blogger-blog, not a wordpress-blog) since October 2005!

Obviously this would be more impressive if I posted more diligently. But, you know, trying to making a living and all that — takes up a lot of time these days.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I’ve lately been using Tumblr a lot, and this one might be of interest: http://lettersfromhere.tumblr.com/.

It’s not very substantial, but collects links to places that interest me, including of course New Orleans, as well as stuff related to the idea of “place” in general — everything from maps to architecture. I have a secret hope of some day writing a new series of essays called “Letters from Here,” sort of like LfNO, but chances are good that it’ll never get beyond the Tumblr.

I’m also blogging these days for Design Observer. The stuff I’m doing there has nothing to do with New Orleans, place, or “St. James Infirmary,” but, you know, I try to keep it interesting anyway.

Anyway, I’ll continue to update this site as “SJI” news breaks, so stay tuned!

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This morning I posted a bit about bringing back the no notes mailing list using a different service.

Right after that I came to grips with a major problem with the different service and realized I couldn’t use it. So I deleted the post. But some people saw the post — probably in their RSS readers. Maybe you see it right now? IGNORE IT! I BEG you!

If you do want to join the no notes mailing list, do it here.

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StoryCorps in N.O.

A friend alerts me to this, she’s involved in it, and I pass it along to you in N.O. or who might know someone:

On October 7, 2010 StoryCorps together with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will begin recording interviews with Gulf Coast residents affected by the April 2010 oil spill. StoryCorps is a national oral history project that records the stories of everyday people. The StoryCorps’ MobileBooth—an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio—will stop in New Orleans, LA from October 7, 2010 to October, 23, 2010.

A StoryCorps interview is a 40-minute conversation between two people who know each other. A trained facilitator will be present with you and your partner throughout the interview process to help you have a comfortable and meaningful experience, and to handle all technical aspects of the recording. You’ll take home a broadcast-quality audio CD, and with your permission, copies will go to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Visit http://www.storycorps.net to listen to clips and learn more about StoryCorps and the MobileBooth.

Reservations for New Orleans, LA are currently open and can be made by calling StoryCorps’ 24-hour toll-free reservation line at 1-800-850-4406 or visiting storycorps.org.

More info on the New Orleans StoryCorps visit and how to get involved, here.

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Please pardon this brief aside. I’m really excited about E‘s latest show, at the Telfair Museum of Art here in Savannah. The opening reception is tomorrow night. I don’t know how many Murketing readers are actually in Savannah, but for those who are, here’s the info:

Ellen Susan / Soldier Portraits
Opening Reception: Thursday April 15, 6 pm.
Telfair’s Jepson Center
Savannah, GA

If you can’t make the opening, check out the actual show before closes July 25. Many of the images on view are ambrotypes (and tintypes) made with the wet-plate collodion process. This is a rather complicated and intense antique process that, while difficult, produces one-of-a-kind images that look particularly amazing in person.

For various reasons I’ve been thinking a lot lately about recognition and the art process, and I think it’s an important dimension of this project. The combination of this process and these subjects strikes me as a useful antidote to the way we’ve gotten used to seeing soldiers in the press: Whatever your stance might be about the war, “the troops” are often just fleeting, interchangeable images, more of an idea than actual people.

The Soldier Portraits project started when we first moved to Savannah a couple of years ago; locally based soldiers, who were all around at the grocery store or the mall, were at the time preparing to deploy to Iraq, some for the third time. Suddenly it was impossible not to recognize them as more than simply “the troops,” but rather as individuals. I think these images — made with long exposures, captured through a difficult process onto what are in effect unique objects — force the viewer to undergo a similar process.

Yes, I’m biased. But in this instance, I’m also right.

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Happy Time of Year, originally uploaded by R. Walker.

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