Sunday Slant

By Sumeru Raut

😭Why did I discover Elliott Smith so late?

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😭Why did I discover Elliott Smith so late?
By Sumeru Raut • Issue #38 • View online

Hello friend-person,
I’m sorry for these delays with Sunday Slant. I think I’ll just stop apologising henceforth, since I seem to delay every third week. I hope you keep reading regardless. There’s always some reason or the other; this time it was a jostle between quality and time.
I took time to make this week’s video—shot it on a DSLR (my decade old Canon 60D, with a 50mm lens), watched YT videos to learn more about mixing and mastering audio tracks—so it was bound to take time. I should’ve started early, but hey, I didn’t know I wanted to try doing it well.
And I didn’t want to send the newsletter without the video. I feel like I owe the Sunday Slant reader a glimpse of my projects first, before Google’s algorithms or anywhere else on the internet; because a newsletter is a commitment, not only from me, the writer, but also from you, the reader. YT will come and Twitter will go, but email is forever… like you and me. (That, right there, is the cue for you to unsubscribe. Do it now, please. I beg you, before I get any more sloppy.)
The other thing we thought was forever but discovered last week that it wasn't—was Facebook. The site went bust for 6+ hours last Monday and I can’t tell you how proud I was that I didn’t even notice. (If you don’t know anything about this, then I congratulate you. Please share the secret to your zen life.)
When I returned to social media some months ago, I decided to do one thing different—I downloaded all my data from Facebook and deleted my account. Umhm. So I’m not on Facebook except that I fully am because I have both Whatsapp and Instagram (siblings of Facebook were down, too, in those 6 hours) installed on my phone. Also, Facebook keeps a shadow profile of non-users who’ve never signed up, so deleting an existing account means nothing. It is only a reminder to myself to stay off the ghastly site.
Click and zoom in
Click and zoom in
The only reason I still have WhatsApp is to chat with my beloved grandma; and to broadcast this newsletter to people who are kind enough to suffer me in two inboxes. My WhatsApp notifications are perennially off (have been since writing this in July 2020). I have shifted all personal communication to Signal app (and occasionally, iMessage).
I dip in and out of Whatsapp (or Instagram, or Twitter or…) as and when I please, ever since I realised that nobody is owed my time, at the tender age of 33. Keeping notifications off has been life-altering; I highly recommended it.
Also, the outage came shortly after Frances Haugen whistleblowed (why can’t that be a word?) the company. Watch her interview if you feel like I’m rambling. Even famous filmmaker Anand Mahindra (lol, yes, he studied filmmaking, look it up) weighed in with his tweet.
Alright. I hear you. You say:
Dude, why are you so obsessed with Facebook if you hate it so much? Go live a life. - you
Fair enough. I don’t know really; maybe the strong feelings come from having watched them use their power to (inadvertently?) feed political turmoil in India, spread fake news in communities and have an influence down to interpersonal relationships. It has certainly stopped being a force for good.
I confuse myself because I fully agree with the below tweet.
Michael Tracey
I don’t even like or use Facebook but the constant melodramatic scapegoating of it for all of society’s ills is obnoxiously stupid
Wow. I’ve been going off on this. I didn’t plan to. I’ll stop being your tech-reporter.
Elliott Smith's music is 🥵
I’ve been so moved by Elliott Smith’s music this week. I can’t put my finger on it. I haven’t been affected by an artiste in this manner in a very long time. The last time I felt this way was when I heard The Beatles for the first time in the summer of 2005, when I was 18.
Until last month, I had only ever heard one song by Elliott Smith and knew that he had died a mysterious death. Last month, I heard Sara play his music aloud as she cooked. I was intrigued by the chord changes that were so strikingly similar to The Beatles’. I loved the first song I heard and we covered it last week.
I have since gone down the Elliott Smith rabbit hole. And all I can say is I am infatuated, smitten, in love.
His singing is in complete contradiction to the ethos of Hindustani music, the tradition I grew up with; सुर से समझौता नहीं which roughly translates to no negotiation with pitch-accuracy.
It has always been one of my biggest dreads: pitchy singing. And I had always kept that as the focus of singing for most of my musical life. I’m turning the corner from this idea that pitch-accuracy is the be all and end all in music; maybe it’s not and maybe ‘emotion’ is.
His songwriting and melody pierce through. There is something so subversive about him singing songs he wrote in his bedroom, way before the internet in the 90s, in his own peculiar voice without giving—excuse my Sanskirt—a fuck, about what anyone had to say about it, with a quiet abandon, with no care for fame and money.
I think I’m heading in that direction, where I find myself going further and further away from caring about what others think/feel/say. I am living life on my own terms.
He speaks to me.
I’ve often doubted if I’m having a delayed teenage angst. Falling madly in love with Elliott Smith in my thirties, only confirms those doubts.❖
Some of my favourite tracks:-
📹 Video of the week
No, it's not an ad for sweaters.
No, it's not an ad for sweaters.
We had fun doing this cover. I took a week to learn this song on the guitar. It was difficult to maintain the tempo, if you can’t tell already. Fun fact: Sara’s videos are flipped 👁 (Listen to the original here)
❤️ Things I liked this week
Did you enjoy this issue?
Sumeru Raut

Weekly musings and other such nonsense; with interesting links.

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