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Writing

  • Poetry

Camper Van Beethoven

Eugene Chadbourne makes a good impression of a Richard Scarry monster, especially all roly-poly during improv. Little did I realize he figured in one of my favorite albums evar, Camper Van Beethoven’s Camper Van Beethoven (1986). I bought two cassettes from him wrapped in stray socks that he had shlepped from somewhere, possibly a laundromat, possibly from underneath his bed. Oh Camper. I lost you for a while, but now you’re found again. I’ll never leave you far away again amidst lonely vinyl, 6 states away in self-storage. Such is the destiny of found objects, and such is the libery of digital bits on a platter spinning at 7200 rotations per minute. Take that Edison. Did I mention this is my favorite album. It has saved me more than once. Why did I take you for granted? All the tracks here are gems, one after another, backtracked for sure, but there is something else too hidden within the narishkeit. You can tell from the rise and fall of Chadbourne’s violin tonic. They’re in the know, just listen to “Peace & Love” — all I can do is recommend it, and beg you to listen. Bring this album to your next hoedown, and play “Hoe Yourself Down” and I promise you’ll have the most psychedelic squaredance, possibly rhomboid even. Special treats, “The History of Utah” and a cover of “Interstellar Overdrive” which I could swear is better than the original. Trust me, I’m sitting in a sweltering apartment in Louisiana, warming a fesh bottle of cider, tripping to this album like a pea melting in soup.


Image copyright Frank Schindelbeck

About Aharon N. Varady


Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes . He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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