Friday Five: A Backdated Shirley Manson Appreciation, A Small Defense of Twin Peaks’ Second Season And My Favorite Shirt This Spring

+ Back in Garbage’s heyday in the mid-90s, I was pretty much enmeshed in riot grrrl, punk and super-obscure indie stuff. (And PJ Harvey…I LOVED Polly Jean!) Shirley Manson and company would’ve been too mainstream for me, being the music snob that I was. Looking back, though, I do think there’s something valuable about having representation of a strong, assertive, sexy but not lame woman in the mainstream lane. We all have to begin somewhere, and I do think there are great pop culture ‘gateways’ that can grow and develop into more radical, eccentric, unruly forms of feminism, resistance and critical thought.

Anyway, I was wandering around the nether regions of Amazon Prime Music and came across the ‘super-deluxe’ version of their 1995 debut, which I do remember hearing in boutiques, movie soundtracks and the late-night crashing in front of MTV. (Back when MTV still played music videos, of course…the old-school days!) I looked up Shirley now, and she’s still a torchbearer for a strong, fierce version of feminine strength, which I totally respect and admire. And considering the fact that there aren’t a lot of rock music frontwomen in mainstream-ish music — which makes me sad — it’s even more amazing.

And, I have to admit, while the production is very late 90s — it sounds like a clubbier Nine Inch Nails effort in terms of music production — the album is still solid as heck: hooky as all get out and a fun listen. And Shirley is still going, and still the bomb.

+ I finished my ‘Twin Peaks’ binge and I am ALL EXCITED for the May debut of the new “season” on Showtime. I have so many thoughts, but I don’t want to turn this into a Twin Peaks fan blog. (Though I totally, absolutely could!) I know a lot of people malign the second season — and yes, after the absolute eccentric, audaciously surreal Lynchian genius of the first season and first part of the second, which wrapped up the whole ‘Who killed Laura Palmer?’ storyline, it seems to pale in comparison. But I didn’t think it was all that bad.

Yes, some of the storylines were ridiculous, like the whole Nadine amnesia thing. (And they could’ve just scrapped James Hurley’s storyline way earlier than they did, as far as I’m concerned.) And a few of the episodes were frankly duds. But the dip in quality was fairly short, and by the time it developed its second season mystery and propelled forward, it seemed to find some of its footing again, at least in terms of a fairly solid narrative. And really, those last 2 episodes were pretty strange and haunting — Kyle MacLachlan’ final beats of his performance as Agent Cooper-but-not were terrifying and tragic all at once, not to mention one of the worst unresolved cliffhangers in TV history. Which is why, if anything, I’ll be watching the new season, because OMG YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE MY IDEAL MAN HANGING, OKAY?!!!!

Here’s a “recap” of what happened in the past seasons…beware, it’s a little spoiler-y if you’re new to the show and want to catch up.

+ Did I mention that I read Joan Didion’s latest book, South and West? It’s a minor work — just some of her writing from notebooks she kept during some trips to the South, as well as her thoughts on California as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a good intro if you’re a Didion newbie, but for those of you who appreciate her sharp eye for detail and her dry, incisive yet elegant prose — not to mention a snapshot into a region of the country that reveals its deep roots of history, resentment and privation — it’s worth a read.

+ Okay, guys, this week’s outfit is one of those no-brainers, when you just grab a bunch of items from your closet, toss ’em on and get on with your busy, wonderful life. Sometimes I like an outfit that requires a bit of risk, thought and experimentation, but sometimes you just need something that works and makes you happy all at once. This is one of the latter: simple jeans, my Ines de la Fressange for Uniqlo linen floral shirt and the grey everyday coat I got from Old Navy ages ago. I love this shirt the more I wear it; it never fails to brighten my spirits when I put it on.

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