Perhaps the greatest description of a musical album ever:
3. David Bowie, Station to Station
On the title track of David Bowie’s Station to Station, he proclaims with strangulated difficulty, “It’s not the side effects of cocaine” — but stories of the album’s fabled 1975 recording sessions in Los Angeles suggest the contrary. Bowie’s diet is said to have consisted of cocaine, peppers, milk, and four packs of Gitanes cigarettes a day, leading to a bizarre state of paranoid delusion and classic signs of cocaine psychosis. He suspected musicians of being FBI agents or vampires, referred to Hitler as the first rock star, claimed his semen was stolen by witches, and engaged in Crowley-influenced black magic, all of which informed the record’s dense lyrical content. — Sam Lefebvre
Winston’s shell. Designer Graham demostrates Winston Churchill’s personal pressure chamber, created to enable him to make high-altitude flights safely. In: Life, 10 Feb 1947.
To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta. Churchill was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet. The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere.
Sculptor Sara Asnaghi has produced a series of sculptures of the human brain molded from various foodstuffs, called “What have you got in your head?” The series includes pieces made from barley, chilis, hemp seeds, candy balls, black rice, canary chow, bread crumbs, sugar, and hay.
I have a large library by most normal standards. Seemingly I’ve arranged my life in order to acquire as many books as possible. I worked for three years right out of college in a large secondhand bookstore — where I was, all by myself, the paperback department — then for a literary review where I raided the mailbag on a daily basis. Over the decades I’ve spent a lot of my free time in book barns and flea markets and charity bazaars and estate sales. I review books, and sometimes have served as a judge for literary awards, and now and then have books sent to me speculatively by publishers and occasionally authors. And I’m bilingual; when I travel to a French-speaking country I literally need an extra suitcase for the books I bring back. Meanwhile I’ve moved around, often; only once did I live in a single place for as long as 10 years (and it was possibly the rattiest of all my residences). I lived in New York City in that bygone era when as soon as you got a $20 raise you’d move to a slightly bigger apartment. My older friends probably still suffer joint aches from helping carry my hundred boxes up six flights on multiple occasions.