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November 19, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-19

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 19, 1997 - 9

Cold' heats up
winter reading

Id Mountain
arles Frazier
Atlantitc Monthly Press
Haven't there been enough books
and movies about the Civil War? Has it
outlived its usefulness as an artis-
tic subject?
The answer to
se questions
ight have'
been "yes,",
until -Charles
" C o 1 d'
Mountain" was
.published. This beau-
tifully written first novel
revisits familiar historical and literary
terrain, but tells a deep, original and
*redibly absorbing story.
Like two lines that meet at a vanish-
ing p6int - or like lives that become
intertwined - "Cold Mountain" draws
together two stories that finally com-
bine as the book draws to a close. The
novel begins with Inman, a wounded
Confederate soldier who plans to desert
from the.army - he sneaks out of the
fieldIspital and starts walking back to
his home.in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
li2 Alternating chapters, Frazier
'ates what simultaneously happens to
Ada, a woman with whom Inman has a

a meeting with the Sirens, which, in
Inman's narration, is rendered as: "He
wondered what sort of house of sluts he
had stumbled into.")
Ada's story is less eventful but no
less intriguing. Most readers will not
have considered what running a 19th-
century Southern farm entailed, but
Frazier explains this in great detail. He
enables readers to envision the
South in 1864 - a
world in which peo-
ple had to pro-
duce every-
thing they
needed to live,
and in which
money was
devalued and a
primitive barter sys-
tem was the only means of
exchange. Frazier's depiction of this
society is thorough and fascinating.
"Cold Mountain" stands out, most of
all, for its stunningly lyrical and
detailed language. Events are related
from Inman's or Ada's perspective in
characteristic 19th-century diction; this
style is very easy to read, but must be
read slowly to appreciate Frazier's
unusual rhythms of language.
Also, throughout the book Frazier
includes precise descriptions of events,
ranging from the appearance of the sky
at dawn to the battlefield at
Fredericksburg. One typical passage
reads: "As the sun fell to earthline it
found an opening
in the clouds and
rely one shot a beam of
light the color of
St novels hot hickory coals
straight upward.
i3 The light was
tubular and hard-
edged as the barrel
of a rifle."
Given descriptions such as these,
readers have no trouble imagining
every scene of the novel.
"Cold Mountain" would be a strong
achievement for any writer and is even
more so for a first-time novelist. Its lan-
guage resonates in readers' minds long
after they finish the book, as do its
characters and its powerful conclusion.
This is surely one of the best novels
of the year, and is an experience no one
should miss.
- Elizabeth Lucas

Goldfinger took St. Andrew's by storm this past weekend.

Goldfinger bonds with punk-rock audience

tenuous relation-
ship. Ada's father
has died and left This is sL
her to cope with
his rundown farm; of the be
as Inman journeys
home, Ada of she ye
becomes more
f-sufficient as
Te and a friend learn to run the farm.
This parallel structure allows a great
understanding of both characters: As
Frazier relates their histories, thoughts
and emotions, they come to seem com-
pletely realistic, and in fact, almost real.
"Cold Mountain"'s two plots are
unfailingly gripping, though in differ-
ent ways. Inman's journey has echoes
of "The Odyssey,' as he experiences an
tually daunting array of obstacles -
rything from encountering bears in
the woods to being captured by
Confederate soldiers. (Frazier includes


By Colin Bartos
Daily Arts Writer
Call them crazy, call them intense, or call them
Goldfinger, but please, stop calling them a ska band.
Goldfinger is one of the more popular pop bands
rooted in punk and ska flavor and ideals to come around
in the past few years and their
hybrid sound defies a definitive R
label. Their latest stop at St.
Andrew's Hall in Detroit this N
weekend had a label, though, and
it was madness. St.Andre
"Everyone has to be labeled," S
lead vocalist John Feldmann said
in an interview before the show. "If people wanna call
us a ska band, whatever. I mean, we're not. Anyone who
knows ska music would never consider us a ska band."
The majority of the public would, though.
Goldfinger, especially with its latest release, "Hang-
Ups," has incorporated a lot more horns, along with
other new elements, to really round out their punky
"We always try to tour with ska bands to steal their
horns," Feldmann revealed. They didn't need to steal
anything to make "Hang-Ups," though, as members of
Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, the Skeletones, and Fishbone
lent their services and volunteered to play on the record.
And now, Goldfinger tours with its own horn section.
The crowd was out in full effect to see Goldfinger,
despite horrible driving weather and a long wait out in


the freezing cold. Save Ferris opened up the show with
a bang. They're a new pop-ska and swing outfit from
Southern Cali whose lead vocalist Monique wears a
dress and high heels, and sounds remarkably like
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. It was their debut perfor-
mance in Detroit, and they got the crowd rockin' and
_ _ _ skankin' early. Even though their
songs started to sound a lot alike
V I E WAI by the end of their 40-minute set,
they were quite entertaining.
Goldfinger With the crowd warmed up good
Hall, Detroit and ready, Goldfinger finally hit
Nov. 15,1997 the stage about 20 minutes late.
They opened the show with
"Answers" from their self-titled 1995 debut, which
went over well with the crowd.
From the beginning, the true appeal of Goldfinger
shown through: they put on an awesome punk rock dis-
As Goldfinger continued their set, mixing songs like
the straight ahead punk attack of "Anything" with new
tracks, like the poppy "My Head," and the ska-core-ish
sounding "Chris Cayton," the crowd continued to get
more and more restless. Chaos hit, though, during the
hilarious "Fuck You and Your Cat," during which
Feldmann jumped up on one of the speaker stands on
the side of the stage, and leapt down into the out-
stretched sea of arms.
About a half-hour into the set, "Dangerous" Damn
leapt out from behind the drum kit to point at his

Wings' jersey for the millionth time, before he grabbed
the mic and started into a sarcastic hardcore version of
the current radio hit "Tubthumping" -,by
Chumbawamba. Then, he climbed up the speaker stack
on the other side of the stage and leapt, too, returning
to the stage under a full moon, if you know what I'm
Goldfinger has met with some commercial success,
too, which was evident as the crowd sang along verbatim
with the new single "This Lonely Place.' During-the
MTV hit, "Here In Your Bedroom,"the band invited about
30 people up on stage to sing back-up as testament to its
popularity. The success is something Feldmann'sa.,ot
ashamed of either.
"I don't think music's a thing you should hidCin
your pocket," Feldmann said, "I think you should sure
it with as many people as possible."
After a short break, Goldfinger returned to roun~ut
their 70-minute, 25-song set with the intense "Noes
Away" as well as a cover of the Cure's "Just Cie
Heaven," during which Royce of Detroit's own punkla
heroes The Suicide Machines came out on stage to ig
along. The set ended with the brand new "20 Cnlt
Goodbye" and a psycho-hyper hardcore versiogof
Duran Duran's "Rio."-
It was a fitting end to a super show: tongue-in-clwek
humor mixed with hard-edged punk, pop bliss, ed
danceable ska music. And it sums up the Goldfinger
quite perfectly. Remember though: they're not aba
band -just a good one.

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