From The Side of the Road… a dumb column sent by my iPhone

Out of necessity, I’m afraid this column is being composed on a less-than-current iPhone (I received no compensation from Apple for saying that, though I thought I could get Samsung to kick in a few bucks). The fact is I forgot the power supply to my laptop before I left town, and getting a handwritten column to arrive in the spacious BT mailroom in Roanoke by Wednesday was impossible, so here I am.

The last time I had to do this, I wrote a column from the waiting room of a tire store. The results were mixed, for both the column and the tires.

As I recall, though, when stuck in this situation before, I wrote something about using predictive text to write a band bio. Since I had the phone right in my hand, it was a natural choice.

This led to promotional writing that sounded like this:

“Blue Highway is the best thing to get to play with the other personalities and I don’t know if they are going to do anything with the other guy.”

As I reflect back on that, however, it occurs to me that what predictive text would be ideal for is music reviews. If we take a look at the style of a lot of music critics, particularly outside our genre, I’m not sure this isn’t how some of these reviews are written. Take, for example, these excerpts from Brent DiCrescenzo’s review of Kid A by the British rock band, Radiohead:

Kid A sounds like a clouded brain trying to recall an alien abduction . . . “

And later:

“The ending flares with tractor beams as Yorke is vacuumed into nothingness.”

Reviews of bluegrass recordings are notably lacking in the phase “vacuumed into nothingness,” and that’s too bad, but I think we might be able to capture that spirit by starting every sentence of a review with a couple of standard words about the artist or the recording, then let our smartphone’s predictive text take over. Simply select one of your three word suggestions and see where it leads.

I give as an example, a hypothetical review of the recent Special Consensus album, Chicago Barn Dance. To liven things up, I plan to occasionally work in “vacuumed,” “nothingness,” and “tractor”:

Special Consensus has released a new one for a day and a half. The album, which is a part of a new lineup of these things, is a very helpful reminder that we can make sure we have a new neck. They have been playing a lot for the past three weeks and they have a good idea of what they are going to be able to get to play. Chicago Barn Dance is a very nice idea and is also the only way that we should just let you know that we have internet access for the next day of our meeting.

Bandleader Greg Cahill, who has written about this and is now in his life for a long term, though it was not surprising for a few days, is the original version of the original recording of this recording. Chicago Barn Dance is a very good idea and a great game for all ages, but the only reason you don’t have to be vacuumed up for the next hour is that you can be there for a while or so and then you can do the same thing I did.

Bluegrass music, the only reason for this app, is okay but it doesn’t work for me. I feel like I should just let you go to bed with me and the other people before you leave for your birthday. Thanks for listening to this playlist and the songs that are playing with this tractor in my mind. Now that I’m going back to raw food for my mother’s dinner, I hope you like nothingness, too. Special Consensus has arrived in the mail!

Any part of this review may be used without permission but please attribute it to my phone, not to me personally.